His agency has offered him a choice of two Affordable Care Act-approved marketplace plans. But
Also, the plan's co-insurance -- the amount he would be responsible for after he has met his deductible -- is
"It might as well be
He's not alone. Officials at local health centers and clinics say they're seeing more people like
As a result, she said, the center has broadened its mission, with a focus on ensuring access to care regardless of insurance status.
"At the end of the day, the underinsured are no different than the uninsured," she said.
The federal marketplace was designed to offer health coverage to the millions of Americans who had no insurance, perhaps due to losing a job or having a pre-existing medical condition.
That part has worked, as the government estimates 20 million people have gained health insurance since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, bringing the percentage of uninsured into single digits. But in the marketplace's opening rounds, insurers have incurred major losses on their products, so many are narrowing their networks, dropping or redesigning some plans and raising the price on others.
"I don't think anybody was expecting deductibles of this level when we went into it," said
"The large deductibles can make it very, very difficult for patients, particularly if they're on four or five medications," said
"I think there's a misconception in our society that either you have insurance and everything's fine, or you don't and you have access to medical assistance, and there's all this in-between."
"I still come out ahead," he said. But it still rankles that the penalty will disproportionately hit people like himself "who simply cannot pay all that money before we even see a doctor, and then pay all that after we see a doctor. That's not what insurance is supposed to do."
And if he gets sick or seriously hurt?
"I'm just hoping against hope that I can stay healthy for five or six years until I can get into
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