Major Survey of “Obamacare” Consumers Shows Problems With Law
Enrollment Disappoints; Ratings Among Purchasers Fall
(Washington, D.C.) – The Kaiser Family Foundation has released the results of its third survey of people purchasing insurance in the individual health insurance market – and in particular through the exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). This market has changed significantly since mandates and penalties were imposed under the law, and now the vast majority of these plans are at least compliant with it. While the majority of purchasers (54 percent) rate their insurance as “good,” it is clear that rising costs are a growing problem. More people have high deductible plans, more are changing to plans they regard as worse, and a growing number of policyholders feel vulnerable to high medical bills.
· The percentage of individual purchasers in high-deductible plans increased from 36 percent to 49 percent in just the last year;
· Fewer than half (48 percent) of Obamacare buyers say their plan is an excellent or good value – a decline of 10 percent from the first year of the law, 2014;
· 44 percent of those with Obamacare plans feel vulnerable to high medical bills – an increase of 8 percent from 2014;
· Two-thirds of those with Obamacare-compliant plans said they could not meet basic living expenses, or met them “with little left over” or less;
· More than half have reported ‘problems’ with using their Obamacare plans (including higher bills than expected, failure to cover a prescription drug, etc.); and,
· One quarter had switched plans from the prior year, with 37 percent of those saying it was a “worse value” than the previous plan.
These disappointing findings come despite costly – and sometimes illegal – taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies selling policies under Obamacare. With premiums set to continue to climb steeply next year, enrollment is already far below previous forecasts. Less than a year ago, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 20 million people would be covered in Obamacare exchanges this year; instead, that number may be as low as 10 million. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of Americans receiving taxpayer-funded insurance has nearly doubled since 1999 – to 19 percent as of last year.
Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“The White House has consistently made Latinos a top target for signups in an unpopular system that millions of Americans now reject. Even the people purchasing insurance on the Obamacare exchanges give it poor reviews. This system is deeply flawed – and the fact that more and more participants feel vulnerable to high medical bills is a serious problem. Policymakers need to stop trying to convince people this system is working, and instead begin to explain how they intend to fix it. This law’s primary purpose was to insure those who could not afford insurance, but now all it does is fine those who can't afford insurance.”
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