The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions across the country, and Delaware has not been spared. Many consumers across the state are struggling to afford health care, exacerbated by the fact that it is difficult to determine the cost of care in advance due to lack of price transparency at many Delaware hospitals.
Even before the pandemic, research showed it more than half of Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance had delayed or postponed recommended treatment to himself or a family member due to cost. Now that insurers continue to make billions while rolling back services like COVID-19 coverage, it has never been more crucial for Delawareans to take the time and examine what different health care schemes cover and do not cover. Health insurance practices are changing and Delawareans need to be prepared.
With open enrollment beginning Nov. 1 for many Delaware residents, it’s crucial that consumers are aware of the potential pitfalls that exist, including changes in COVID-19 coverage, surprising medical bills and unwanted health plans that do not cover existing ones. relationship. October marked Health Literacy Month, and Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) helps Americans understand their options for choosing health insurance coverage and ensure they know the details of the health care plans they choose.
Already now, insurance companies are changing their policies when it comes to COVID-19. Nearly three-quarters of the largest health care schemes across the country are ending their COVID-19 cost-sharing exemptions, a move that will only hurt patients. Health care spending continues to rise for Delawareans, and CQC poll from ALG Research even found that 76% of Delaware residents agree that the amount they pay for health care seems to increase every year.
Telehealth has become a lifeline for many Americans during COVID-19, including those in Delaware. State legislators have even moved to permanently expand access to telemedicine for patients throughout the state. Unfortunately, some insurance companies rolling cover for this important tool, which has been shown to have major benefits even beyond the pandemic, especially in rural and underserved communities, which often lack easy access to health care.
Surprising medical bills remain a major issue for Delawareans. While legislation passed by the US Congress last year will protect many Americans from surprising billing from next year, details of the law are still under development. With many uninformed or in the dark about this ongoing legislative battle, consumers should always check if a provider is in the network and carefully examine all medical bills before paying them.
With an estimated one-third of COVID-19 survivors Delaware consumers who identify with the lasting effects of the virus need to be wary of unwanted health care schemes such as short-term short-term insurance schemes (STLDIs), which often preclude coverage of pre-existing conditions. Delawareans who want to save on healthcare costs should avoid STLDIs, which entice consumers with lower premiums, but which often leave them without adequate coverage when they need it most.
To help struggling Delaware residents afford care, lawmakers, state insurance commissioners, insurance companies and hospitals need to address rising health care costs and ensure that all Americans can access the quality and affordable care they need and deserve. Meanwhile, CQC encourages Delawareans to carefully examine their health insurance options during the 2021 Open Enrollment so they can make the best possible decision for themselves and their families.
Donna M. Christensen served nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the US Virgin Islands, and was the first female physician elected to serve as a member of the House of Representatives. She now sits on the board of Consumers for quality care.