InfoPoll | 05-08-2013

It’s Called the Affordable Care Act So People Will Judge Its Success Based on Premiums

Poll Also Finds Public Judgment Based on Percent of People Uninsured

Health care in the United States makes up almost eighteen percent of the economy’s gross domestic product. The Affordable Care Act (“ACA” and commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) has made and will continue to make dramatic changes in how health care is paid for and delivered. Effecting change on that much of the economy is an extraordinary endeavor and, not surprisingly, people see the effort differently based on their perspectives on the health care system.

Federal and state exchange marketplaces will soon deliver the most significant changes impacting the health plan industry. The number of uninsured is expected to drop due to the following legislative initiatives:

  • Guaranteed issue of health coverage; neither the decision to provide insurance nor the price of the coverage will be based on an applicant’s health status
  • Requirement that nearly everyone purchase insurance or alternatively pay a penalty at tax time
  • Subsidies paid to people whose incomes fall within four hundred percent of the poverty level
  • Expansion of Medicaid in every state willing to accept the terms of the expansion

The ACA passed Congress and was signed by the President in 2010. Since then some of its provisions have gone into effect and it has been the subject of a great deal of political discussion. With the remaining major provisions focused on insurance coverage set to have an effective date of January 1, 2014, HealthPocket decided to ask consumers which is the most important issue for determining whether Obamacare fails or succeeds.

The survey response reveals that premium affordability is the number one factor at thirty-eight percent of respondents. The only response that came close to this option is the percent of people uninsured at thirty percent. Three other choices, shown above, came in the vicinity of ten percent each.

Implications

HealthPocket published prior research studies looking at the existing individual and family health plan universe and how plans can currently decline to cover or charge more than the quoted price to people based on their health status. The research also reviewed where plans fall in the categories that make up the ACA’s essential benefits requirements. Changes in the ACA will provide more comprehensive coverage to more people as can be seen in that prior research. However, this survey is a reminder that many people will also be looking for less expensive coverage.

HealthPocket is supporting consumers in their quest for affordable coverage by giving them free access to information about cost and quality of health plans available in their location. Users are welcome to visit HealthPocket’s individual and family plan section to conduct their search.

METHODOLOGY

Results are based on 1,001 responses to an online survey conducted from May 6, 2013 to May 8, 2013. Respondents were asked “Which do you think is the most important issue for judging if Obamacare is a success or failure in 2014?” Respondents had the option of choosing only one of the following answers: "Premium affordability," "% of people uninsured," "% of people keeping existing health plan," "% of people keeping their doctor" and “breadth of insurance benefits.” The order of these options was randomized across respondents. The survey was displayed within a network of over 100 different news web sites and other content sites. Demographic inferencing and methodology to acquire survey respondents who approximate national statistics on age, gender, income, and region was performed by technology administered by Google. Race, education, and health insurance status were not examined. Margin of error across the responses is estimated at +3.0%/ -3.0%.


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AUTHOR

Steve Zaleznick, Executive Director for Consumer Strategy and Development at HealthPocket.com, completed this survey analysis. Correspondence regarding this study can be directed to Mr. Zaleznick at steven.zaleznick@healthpocket.com. Feedback and questions are welcome but, given the volume of email, personal responses may not be feasible.

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Sources:

1See National Health Expenditure Projections: http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Downloads/Proj2011PDF.pdf

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