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Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Results: Most Enrollees Like Their Obamacare Plan

A Picture of Alex Hitcherson Alex Hitcherson
07/14/2016

Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Results: Most Enrollees Like Their Obamacare Plan
We are already past The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) third year of marketplace open enrollment. A new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey focused on individuals purchasing ACA insurance plans or enrolled in Medicaid on the marketplace appear to like their coverage options overall but are still worried about premiums, deductibles, and other costs that have increased since 2014. Proposed insurance prices for 2017 are coming out now.

Two-thirds or 68 percent of marketplace customers consider their present coverage to be either “excellent or good.” Despite concerns about narrow network plans, they are generally satisfied with their plan’s networks, choice of hospitals, primary care doctors, and specialists.

The Common Wealth Fund survey shows a total of 66 percent of enrollees with individual Obamacare plans and 77 percent of those on Medicaid saying they are either “somewhat or very satisfied” with their benefits. These numbers are 4 to 5 percent lower than last year’s survey.

Individual Premium Rates and Deductibles

The Kaiser survey discovered 68 percent of Obamacare and Medicaid customers with qualified marketplace plans responded by rating current coverage as either “excellent or good” and just 59 percent were satisfied with premiums, the money paid each month to maintain their coverage.

The Common Wealth Fund survey is similar to KFF citing about 59 percent saying they are content with their plan’s premium, and 51 percent saying the same about their deductibles leaving roughly 40 percent dissatisfied with their premium and 46 percent unhappy with their deductible. Deductibles are amounts that people must pay out-of-pocket for health services before coverage begins. Those saying they are agreeable to plan premiums and deductibles has decreased slightly since 2014 and marketplace enrollees are more evenly split when asked about plan value versus out-of-pocket cost.

Employer Coverage

Kaiser polls show similar trends are affecting people with employer-based plans. Workers face rising deductibles resulting in a little more concern about costs than in the past. The KFF and Commonwealth Fund’s comparisons to employer-based health coverage follow findings in another recent survey, directed by DeLoitte of American Health Care. It reports 53 percent of ACA exchange consumers are happy with their marketplace health plan and 54 percent of people are content with their employee coverage.

The Commonwealth Fund’s findings show three out of five adults who now have Obamacare and have used their coverage, previously had not been able to budget the necessary money or find the same level of care offered while 45 percent were simply uninsured. Sixty-two percent of the people receiving Medicaid subsidies said they had been uninsured as well.

The surveys are centered on the population sector that benefits the most from ACA reforms to the individual insurance market and tax subsidies making health care plans more affordable. The report includes findings of enrollees in all ACA-qualified plans both inside and outside the marketplaces.

Overall Satisfaction Going into 2017

The public is generally positive about making purchases on the online marketplaces. It is a simple process to compare premiums, cost-sharing, provider networks, and find a plan to meet their specific needs. There are fewer complaints when setting up a new account this year compared to 2014.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to expand health coverage to the millions of uninsured United States residents. The law has successfully decreased the rate of people without health care coverage in the US since 2011. According to the most recent data, the uninsured rate is at its lowest recorded level ever of 9.1 percent.

More than 80 percent of enrollees in marketplace plans receive a subsidy to help lower their monthly premium cost. More than half also have their deductibles and additional health care costs subsidized by government programs.

The proposed price increases, measured in percentages, are not the final approved increases. Although they seem significantly higher than in past years, it will be several weeks before there is a final determination in all states. Regardless, those who approve of Obamacare hope satisfaction levels with the plans for the majority of consumers, especially those receiving government subsidies, will help encourage them to stay enrolled in the program.

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