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Affordable Care Act could be costly and doesn't reduce past debts

Even through the Affordable Care Act was designed to provide affordable medical care to many Americans in need of insurance, it hasn't fully eliminated the debts, co-pays and deductibles that medical insurance can still force you to accrue.

For instance, 9.4 million fewer families have struggled to pay medical bills thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to The Urban Institute, but that doesn't help the one-in-four people between 18 and 64 years old who are still paying off medical debts of the past.

Initially with the ACA, 22 percent of families still reported struggling. That number dropped to 17.3 percent in March 2015, showing that many families have benefited from the coverage. One thing to consider is that while the coverage is available and beneficial for some medical situations, the cost to the enrollee has increased when it comes to the money paid out of pocket. By 2015, the average family of four could be expected to pay around $24,671 for their medical coverage. That's up substantially from the 2011 report indicating costs of $19,393.

Does the higher amount of co-pays and initial layout costs cause Americans to be under-insured? This could be the case, as people choose plans with lower premiums to make sure they can afford the monthly bill. A report from The Commonwealth Fund shared information that showed 11 percent of privately-insured Americans with deductibles of $3,000 or more compared to just 1 percent who had that deductible in 2003.

Source: Forbes, "Medical Debt Remains Even As Obamacare Picks Up The Tab," Bruce Japsen, May. 24, 2015

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