Cap On Out-Of-Pocket Medical Expenses Clears Wash. Committee

Feb 2, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Out-of-pocket medical expenses are crushing some Washington families – even though they have health insurance. A key legislative committee voted Thursday to place an overall cap on how much a family would have to pay each year.

At a recent legislative hearing, a parade of families – some on the verge of tears – told Washington lawmakers of their plight. The stories went like this: a chronic illness leads to expensive medications and treatments. Insurance covers some of it, but deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses mount. Kristin McNulty has a young son with hemophilia. She told the panel her family spent $16-thousand on health care last year.

Kristen McNulty: “We’re just at a point right now where we’re having to make huge sacrifices. Do you we make our medical payment or do we send our kids to pre-school?”

The proposal before lawmakers would create a single cap on out-of-pocket expenses of $12,000 a year for a family. Health insurers warn this change could increase premiums. A similar cap is set to take effect nationally because of the federal health care overhaul. But that’s not until 2014.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

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