via Wall Street Journal
The long battle over ObamaCare’s subsidies that culminated at the Supreme Court last week has overshadowed a consequential shift in health insurance: toward high-deductible plans that will help put market forces back into medicine.
Thirty-seven million Americans are enrolled in these high-deductible plans, which is more than the 22 million projected to be enrolled on the exchanges by 2025. PricewaterhouseCoopers reported last month that 83% of employers offer a high-deductible plan, up from 67% in 2014. Overall, 31% of employers report that these plans are the most popular they offer, up from 17% in 2012. This trend will only increase once ObamaCare’s “Cadillac tax” on high-value plans (those with premiums greater than $10,200 for individuals, and $27,500 for families) takes effect in 2018.
As millions of Americans move onto high-deductible plans, they will change their behavior—and the incentives of the market. Under these plans, in a typical year consumers will pay most, if not all, of their health-care expenses out of pocket. Since they will be spending their own money, they will compare prices for checkups and procedures. Providers will have to earn their business on the basis of quality, price and service, the way companies do in the other four-fifths of the U.S. economy. Competition has the potential to transform America’s sclerotic, overpriced health-care system into something much more transparent and affordable..