WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – As ObamaCare enters its second year, the program is changing the way Americans use health care. More Americans used contraception this year compared to last year, while fewer asked for prescription drugs, according to a new study.
In the first quarter of this year, the use of oral contraceptives increased by 29 percent compared to the same period in 2014.
But the number of people using a prescription drug dropped 18 percent by comparison, according to a study by Express Scripts.
A controversial provision of the Obama administration's health care law, known as the HHS mandate, requires employers to provide all women with contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization services with no co-pay.
In October 2012, Barack Obama told an audience at George Mason University that college-aged females should not “have to choose between text books” and “preventive care” – a euphemism for birth control. “That’s why we passed this law. And I am proud of it. It was the right thing to do.”
The study's authors say the paradox is “likely due to the younger average age of exchange enrollees” in 2015 over 2014. “We may be seeing the start of a new chapter with this program, where healthier Americans who use fewer prescription medications are engaging with these plans, helping plans achieve a more balanced risk pool, which will help them sustain benefit offerings in the future.”
However, there may be another explanation: Fewer Americans are getting their prescriptions filled due to soaring deductibles.
Analysts say the creeping out-of-pocket expenses come as people search for a way to escape the skyrocketing cost of insurance premiums since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, conventionally known as ObamaCare.
Insurance premiums rose 41 percent the first year of the program, and insurers are asking for double-digit increases again this year.
To avoid the pinch, consumers are seeking plans with lower monthly costs but that entail higher deductibles and less coverage.
The number of Americans whose deductible is now at least $1,000 has more than quadrupled since 2006.
Worse, many of these plans do not cover the drugs patients need. “Simply put, many drugs may not be covered at all, and the costs patients incur by buying them with cash won’t count against out of pocket caps,” wrote Scott Gottlieb at Forbes.
As a result, many people are simply doing without their medicine. Holly Wilson of Denver did not take her high blood pressure medication for three months, despite suffering from congestive heart failure. She resumed taking the pills after her doctor told her that she risked having a stroke – but she gets the drugs by asking her doctor for free samples and purchasing only a few pills at a time, according to USA Today.
In 2012, 15 percent of Americans who had a prescription drug benefit said they could not afford their medical bills, according to Consumer Reports.