In a sign of just how difficult it is to rein in out-of-pocket costs, 35% of 2014 bronze-level plans in the Small Business Health Options Program exchange had deductibles that exceeded suggested annual caps under the Affordable Care Act. The conclusion was based on a HealthPocket analysis of government data from small group health plans in 32 states.

Another key finding was that the lowest level of coverage generated the highest possible costs. A whopping 96% of 2014 bronze-metal SHOP plans, for example, had deductibles of more than the ACA’s $2,000 individual and $4,000 family limits. That same result wasn’t nearly as prevalent for silver or gold plans (28% and 6%, respectively, for individuals and 88% and 6%, respectively, for families), nor was it an issue at the platinum level.

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