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New Kaiser Poll Shows Americans Value Having Health Insurance

April 03, 2018

Recently released findings from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll for March 2018 show that Americans, including those in the non-group market, value having health insurance. 

Many of the findings focus on the perceptions and concerns of people who purchase insurance in the non-group market, either directly from insurers or through health insurance marketplaces. Key takeaways include:

  • Nine in ten people plan to continue buying health insurance despite the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate
  • Protecting against high medical bills in the event of serious illness or accident (75%) and for peace of mind (66%) are the main reasons for purchasing insurance
  • The majority of individuals enrolled in the marketplace (58%) and individuals who purchase insurance directly from a health plan (51%) are worried that that, in the future, there will not be insurance coverage in their geographic area

Both groups are concerned about the future affordability of health insurance coverage: 

  • Both marketplace enrollees (82%) and individual enrollees (77%) are worried about premium increases
  • Both groups (80% of marketplace enrollees and 75% of individual enrollees) are also worried about increases in out-of-pocket costs such as copayments and deductibles

Regarding last year’s marketplace open enrollment, most enrollees (61%) report being satisfied with their insurance options. 

  • More than 70 percent report having a choice of health plans in their area 
  • Most (67%) say that their premiums and deductibles during 2018 were lower than or similar to 2017
  • Nevertheless, nearly one third (32%) say they experienced problems enrolling, including setting up accounts, applying for financial assistance, comparing available health plans, enrolling in the plan of choice,  and understanding deadlines
  • Enrollees are somewhat divided on the perceived value of their health insurance, with about half (51%) percent reporting it to be good to excellent and half (48%) reporting it to be fair to poor

The overwhelming majority of respondents—regardless of insurance status—believe it is important to have health insurance, including:

  • 98 percent of those with employer-sponsored health insurance
  • 97 percent of those with non-group health insurance
  • 98 percent of marketplace enrollees
  • 88 percent of adults who are uninsured

Key findings related to those without health insurance include:

  • The main barriers to getting covered are cost (36%) and lack of employment (20%)
  • Most had not tried getting health insurance or enrolling in Medicaid during the past six months

HAP continues to:

  • Support Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems in their work to help patients and communities secure comprehensive, affordable health insurance
  • Encourage members to improve outreach and enrollment efforts and consumer health literacy, using these recent findings and the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s tools and resources
  • Advocate for policies that protect the gains in coverage achieved through the Affordable Care Act

For more information, contact Paula Bussard, HAP’s Chief Strategy Officer.

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