Contrary to what Republicans would have you think, most people who bought health insurance through the Affordable Care Act actually like their plans, a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows. Respondents generally rated shopping for plans as easy and rated their overall coverage as positive. When they didn't, the key factor was the hot-button issue of high deductibles.
Overall, 74 percent of respondents who bought insurance individually rated their health insurance as "excellent" or "good" in 2015, up from 72 percent in 2014, the survey, published Wednesday, showed. When it came to being able to pick doctors and hospitals, 75 percent were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with their choice of primary physicians and hospitals.
In terms of financial protection -- because that's what insurance is really all about -- 57 percent said they felt their plans protected them from high medical bills, compared with 71 percent of people who had insurance through their employers (that information was obtained in a separate survey).
Satisfaction was not so widespread, however, among a key group of people who had high deductibles, or the cumulative amount one has to pay out out of pocket before insurance starts to contribute. More than four out of 10 adults who bought insurance individually faced such high deductibles that they decided to forgo important visits to doctors and skipped medical testing, a separate study recently published by Families USA showed. It was this group that was noticeably less satisified with their health insurance, the Kaiser study revealed.
Those with high-deductible plans, defined as $1,500 per year for an individual or $3,000 for a family, were more than twice as likely to rate their plane as "not so good" or "poor" as those who had lower deductibles. Compared to 85 percent of those in plans with lower deductibles, 66 percent of those with higher deductibles rated their plans as excellent or good. They also rated their plans as being of lesser value. However, the study pointed out, those who have high deductibles also tend to have higher incomes, which "make it somewhat easier for them to absorb these costs."
The majority of the people who bought insurance individually, or through the non-group market, bought plans through exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Only a tiny minority -- about 10 percent of the quarter of those people who worked full-time for others -- had access to health insurance through employers, the survey found.
The poll, which was carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation, surveyed 804 adults in the U.S., in English and Spanish, from Feb. 18 through April 5. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.
Under Obamacare, landmark legislation passed in 2010 that overhauled health care in the United States, more than 14 million people gained health insurance who did not have it before. Four years into the law, rates of the uninsured hit an all-time low of 11.9 percent, according to a poll released in April by Gallup and Healthways.