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Slate: A Failed Cure for Health Care Costs

By: Helaine Olen 

It's a new year, and you know what that means: Your health insurance deductible just reset. Which for many of us means looking forward to paying a significant amount out of pocket for health care until we've spent enough for our insurance payments to kick in. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2016, the average deductible for an American with employer-based insurance was $1,221. People covered through the Affordable Care Act exchange will likely pay more than that. Close to 90 percent of those enrolled will select a plan with an individual deductible of at least $1,300, or $2,600 for a family.

Can't afford it? Feel squeezed? No worries. Your employer or insurer probably offers an online price-comparison information tool for you to find the best deal on everything from blood work to birth control. "Be a smart health care consumer," reads the landing page for my insurance company's price-comparison site. "Use our tools and information to help you save money." But will it?