How Consumer Costs are Impacted by Federal and State Health Care Policies

The healthcare policies at the federal and state level have direct impacts on the health system. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), for instance, has enabled the health sector in the United States to achieve more from the policymakers than was initially intended. With healthcare workers and patients getting to know more about the context of healthcare within their community and their rights to most of the services provided, they are becoming more enlightened. These stakeholders have consequently become agents and advocates of policies that continuously transform the health system. With the tremendous developments regarding health insurance driven by policies over the past few decades, consumer costs have been significantly affected. This article focuses on the impacts that these policies have had on consumer costs.

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Positive Impacts

There has been a consequent increase in access to healthcare following the implementation of some of the health insurance policies. As the federal and state governments continue to stress the need to subscribe to health insurance programs, the citizens are aware of the need to access health services regularly. Their health-seeking behaviors are likely to improve as high costs of health services become less of a barrier to accessing them (Li et al., 2007). The insurance cover is likely to cater for most of the costs while patients find additional payments relatively affordable.

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In the past, the prices attached to individual health interventions were so high that only a limited portion of the population could comfortably pay for them. With current health insurance policies, the prices of general and essential services are subsidized to make it possible for customers to comfortably resort to making use of them (Buntin et al., 2006). Medical bills rose to amounts that could not be easily cleared by a patient or health insurance company with high costs of health interventions. The policies that attempt to increase consumer costs have made it necessary for patients to make wise decisions before resorting to a costly and unwarranted health intervention.

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Negative Impacts

With the rising need to increase customer costs as a mode of influencing decision making, members of low socioeconomic class and other vulnerable members of the population find it difficult to pay out-of-pocket (Chambers, Hoang, and Illingworth, 2013). Perhaps the move to increase consumer costs in new policies could drive the country back to ancient health systems where certain health services are only available to a specific group of the population. It can also potentially violate the rights of citizens to affordable healthcare services.

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