Friday, June 20, 2014

Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Finds Most People Who Bought Health Insurance on the Exchanges Are Happy With It and That 57% Were Previously Insured––No One Should Be Surprised On Either Count

Let's take a look at both of these headlines:

Most People Are Happy
But Kaiser only asked the people who bought health insurance on the exchanges if they were happy with what Obamacare offered them.

As I have said before on this blog, two out of three subsidy eligible people did not buy a health insurance plan in the first open-enrollment.

This week the administration also reported that 76% of those who received a subsidy paid less than the full premium for the plans they selected. And, 69% are paying less than $100 after the subsidies––46% are paying $50 or less.

It would appear from this data that it is the lowest income people who are most often signing up for coverage. They are the ones who get the biggest premium subsidies as well as the reductions in their deductibles and co-pays.

So, the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that these people who are having their premiums and deductibles disproportionately subsidized are happy with their coverage. Hardly a surprise. If you paid for most of my insurance and cut my deductibles from the standard levels I'd be pretty happy too.

But how happy are the people who found the Obamacare health plans so unattractive they did not buy? 

A recent McKinsey survey found that of the people who shopped for an Obamacare policy, 56% didn't buy. Think about that. Obamacare is a monopoly––you can only buy individual health insurance through Obamacare. The government will pay a big part of many people's premiums. Most people would more likely want to be insured than be uninsured. To top it all off, if you don't buy they will fine you!

After all of that, 56% of the people who went shopping didn't buy. Overall, two thirds of subsidy eligible people did not buy.

Perhaps Kaiser could poll the people who did not buy on how happy they are with Obamacare. After all, they make up by far the biggest group.

57% Were Previously Uninsured
The Kaiser survey also found that 57% of those who bought health insurance on the exchanges were previously uninsured. A number of press reports said that the Kaiser finding was much better than the recent McKinsey survey that found only 24% of those who signed up were previously insured.

Actually, the McKinsey finding and the Kaiser finding are completely consistent.

McKinsey found that 26% of those who bought on and off the exchange were previously uninsured––Kaiser found 57% of those who bought on the exchange were previously uninsured. It is no secret that most of those who bought their coverage directly from insurers were their prior customers making the two surveys pretty consistent in their outcome.

I reported on this Blog on April 22 that about half of those who bought on the exchanges were previously uninsured and half were not.

Here is what I said on this blog on May 13th:
[A]ccording to my travels in the market, about half that did buy it in the insurance exchanges already had insurance.

A just released McKinsey survey done during April estimates that 74% of those who bought coverage inside and outside the insurance exchanges had been previously insured––which would be consistent with my finding.
So, there is really no news here––about half of those buying on the exchange were previously insured.

I guess I am in danger of sounding like a broken record on this blog, but what I think the Democrats, as well as the Kaiser Family Foundation, are missing is that by far the majority of people took a look at Obamacare and passed on it.

According to the administration's latest enrollment report, 98 million people visited the state and federal websites while 33 million spoke to the call centers (these are not unique visitors). But only about 6.5 million completed their enrollments––and only one out of three subsidy eligible people bought health insurance.

If the supporters of this law really want it to be sustainable and find acceptance among voters and those eligible for it, they really need to begin to address the reasons why people are not buying it.

But the Kaiser Family Foundation survey does sound good.


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