‘How Is This Affordable?’: Experts Warn of Looming Obamacare ‘Sticker Shock’

As a key enrollment deadline hits Monday, many without health insurance have been comparing policies on the new government health care marketplace and doing what you might expect: They’re picking the cheapest plans, the Associated Press reported.

But health insurance experts are concerned that many of these consumers will be in for a shock when they get medical care in 2014 and discover they’re paying for most of their plans’ initial costs.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action ‘Obamacare Summit’ on November 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Image source: Pool/Getty Images)

Obamacare counselors helping consumers choose policies said many are looking at only upfront costs, not what the insurance companies agree to pay.

In addition, hospitals are worried that those who have uncovered medical bills next year won’t have the means to pay them, which would keep alive one of the problems Obamacare is supposed to solve, the AP added.

Some who’ve been paying their own medical bills — or leaving them unpaid at the hospital — seem surprised that health insurance doesn’t cover more of the costs.

“They previously had no insurance coverage at all and so they might not be happy,” Cynthia Rahming, an enrollment counselor in Houston, told the AP.

Some whose private insurance policies were canceled may discover that keeping the same deductibles may mean higher premiums, the AP noted.

Diane Agnone complained in an online post on California’s health marketplace: “How is this affordable? I am a healthy 62-year-old single woman and these new premiums will cost me over $200 more per month than my existing plan.”

Obamacare government subsidies are available only for individuals making less than $45,960, the AP said, adding that even though most uninsured Americans qualify for subsidies…they still pick the cheapest plans.

“Price rules,” John Foley, a Legal Aid counselor in Palm Beach, Fla., who has been helping people enroll, told the AP.

“The real big surprise was how much out-of-pocket would be required for our family,” David Winebrenner, 46, told the AP. A financial adviser in Lebanon, Ky., his silver plan deductible eclipsed $12,000 for a family of six. And the monthly premium? $1,400.