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Overwhelming Majority of Americans Support Access to Affordable Health Insurance

March 08, 2018

New survey results about Americans’ health insurance coverage indicate that an overwhelming majority (92%) support the right of all Americans to have access to affordable health care insurance. In addition, almost nine out of ten agree with paying into Medicare to ensure access to health care for older Americans. However, many with health insurance outside of employer-based coverage are concerned about the future of their own health insurance because of uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Almost one-third (27%) of Americans with marketplace or Medicaid health insurance are concerned they may not have their health insurance at some point in the future. Among their concerns: continuing federal efforts to dismantle or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), increasing cost of insurance, continued availability of insurance policies in all areas, and the future inability to qualify for health insurance.

Other findings from the Commonwealth Fund’s new analysis, Americans’ Views on Health Insurance at the End of a Turbulent Year, which covered the six-month period of July 2017, to December 2017, include:

  • 11.8 million Americans purchased insurance through online marketplaces; 3.7 percent fewer than the previous year
  • The uninsured rate among adults of 14 percent remained unchanged from the previous six-month period
  • Uninsured adults unaware of the ability to purchase insurance via the federal or a state marketplace decreased to 35 percent, compared to 40 percent who were unaware during the previous survey period

Among adults who knew about the marketplaces but who did not shop for health insurance coverage:

  • 71 percent expressed concern about being able to afford health insurance
  • 38 percent didn’t think they were eligible for health insurance
  • 37 percent believed they did not need health insurance
  • 23 percent thought the ACA was repealed
  • 16 percent believed the federal government repealed the individual mandate and they no  longer needed to purchase health insurance

Uncertainty surrounding the ACA—whether the law and its provisions are still in place, or will remain in place in the future—has caused confusion among Americans. Recent poll results from Kaiser Family Foundation show that only 13 percent of Americans are aware that the ACA’s individual mandate has been repealed beginning in 2019, but remains in place for 2018. The same poll indicates that more than half of American adults now have a favorable opinion of the ACA and its provisions.

During the last open enrollment period ended December 15, 2017, 389,081 Pennsylvanians purchased policies via Healthcare.gov, representing an 8.7 percent decrease from the previous year’s open enrollment period (426,059). Seventy-six percent (76%) of Pennsylvania counties had at least two health insurance issuers, providing consumers with choices in health insurance plans in the Pennsylvania Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems continue to promote health insurance coverage for all Pennsylvanians. To date, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions have supported more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians with health insurance coverage, providing better access to high quality health care services and reducing the uninsured population of Pennsylvania. HAP continues to provide resources about provisions of the Affordable Care Act and their impact in Pennsylvania at its website.

For more information about open enrollment or the health insurance reports, please contact Paula Bussard, chief strategy officer, or Phillip M. Burrell, director, research and data analytics.

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