ACA Health Coverage Approval Drops, Experts Blame Mandates
This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.
After Goldman Sachs confirmed that the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate is leading to a rise in involuntary part-time employment, Obamacare continues to make the news nationwide, but not because the current administration has achieved its goals. Instead, Mercatus Center’s Bin Blase argues, Obamacare is in all over the news again for getting people very angry.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest survey, Affordable Care Act enrollees are increasingly unhappy with their coverage. The study used data collected from 671 enrollees who purchased individual market plans compliant with the Affordable Care Act’s mandates.
In an article for Forbes, Blase explains that as insurers either announce they are leaving the market or are planning on increasing premiums next year, consumer confidence tanks.
Instead of helping the group of people it intended to help, Blase argues, the overall unhappiness with ACA shows federal policy must change dramatically if the administration is serious about helping members of the middle- and low-income classes.
Unfortunately, things might not change until Congress—or the next administration—comes up with a new policy. After all, unhappiness with ACA is nothing new.
Between 2014 and 2015, consumers noticed a sharp increase in premiums and deductibles for 2016 policies, Blase explained. But as the cost of remaining insured increased, consumer choice also suffered as available plans started covering fewer doctors and hospitals.
According to the surveys carried out by the Kaiser Family foundation over the years, the percentage of enrollees rating their coverage as “not so good” or “poor” went from 20 percent in 2015 to 31 percent in 2016. Among those who are less satisfied with their plans, a greater number of insured with high deductible policies appear less satisfied with ACA plans than those with low deductible policies. In this latest poll, at least 45 percent responded that they feel vulnerable to high medical bills while in 2015, only 38 percent felt the same way.
The survey also discovered that, in 2015, 55 percent of respondents rated their insurance as a “good” or “excellent” value while in 2016, only 45 percent claimed the same. As Mercatus Center’s Blase pointed out, a large majority of individuals with ACA coverage receive subsidies to help them pay lower premium shares and yet, even more people say their coverage provides poor value. Perhaps, Blase wrote for Forbes, that proves that the “numerous requirements placed on individual market covered by ACA” are pushing the cost of insurance up. Instead of helping, what ACA has accomplished was to make insurance less affordable.
With fewer ACA enrollees actually approving of their insurance plans and the overall quality of their coverage, it’s hard to understand comments made recently by progressive magazine Mother Jones, that claims that Obamacare “is doing great.” Maybe consumer satisfaction means nothing to them.