Press Release: High Costs Main Factor for the Decreasing Health Insurance Coverage

As cited from CMS.gov, over 2 million people have dropped their health insurance plans originally signed up for during Open Enrollment.

High costs are cited as the primary factor as to why so many people have dropped out of Obamacare.However, about 10 million people are still finding success in the Exchanges.

From November 1st 2016 to January 31st 2017, the Affordable Care Act Marketplace is open for people to enroll in health insurance plans. Individuals can essentially shop around until they find a plan that meets their needs. If they do not choose a plan, they must pay a fine to the government for opting out of health insurance coverage.

During the last Open Enrollment period, 12.2 million individuals selected a plan, but only 10.3 million followed through with paying the first month’s premium. About 1.9 million people dropped their plans before the first payment due to high costs. By the end of the year, 3.1 million people had cancelled the plans they had originally selected. However, although, “Approximately 46 percent of consumers who canceled their coverage prior to paying first month’s premium cited cost as the reason for cancellation… [and] 49 percent of consumers who terminated their plans after paying for at least one month’s premium said they gained other coverage elsewhere (The Health Insurance Exchanges Trends Report 3).”

Clearly, the government and the health insurance providers need to find a solution to the high premium costs. Without everyone paying into health insurance, the premiums will just continue to rise. However, the Exchanges is great news for healthcare because for 82% of the people who enrolled last year, health insurance is an accessible reality.

Gene Therapy
The FDA has approved the first gene therapy treatment.

The gene therapy is a way to treat damaged, mutated, or harmful genes that cause diseases. As of December 19th 2017, individuals born with retinal dystrophy now have access to a cure through gene therapy.

By either replacing or controlling the gene that causes the disease, gene therapy can treat inherited diseases that previously had no cure. This is a huge step for those who have retinal dystrophy, “a rare condition that destroys cells in the retina needed for healthy vision,” which causes blindness. A new gene therapy treatment called Luxturna has been proven to restore vision and allows “patients to see things they have never seen before.”

The approval of the treatment is a vastly important step for gene therapy across the health sector, however, the high cost may cause issue. “There is a widespread expectation that it [Luxturna] could cost at least $1 million to treat each patient.”  The enormous cost could render this treatment infeasible for those who need the cure.  Still this is a big milestone, and  Luxturna’s success gives hope to patients who suffer from other incurable diseases.

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