Survey of Non-Group Health Insurance Enrollees

Source: Liz Hamel and Mira Rao and Larry Levitt and Gary Claxton and Cynthia Cox and Karen Pollitz and Mollyann Brodie, Kaiser Family Foundation, June 19, 2014

From the summary:
January 1, 2014 marked the beginning of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) making significant changes to the non-group insurance market, including new rules for insurers regarding who they must cover and what they can charge, along with the opening of new Health Insurance Marketplaces (also known as “Exchanges”) and the availability of premium and cost-sharing subsidies for individuals with low to moderate incomes. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services and others provide some insight into how many people purchased insurance using the new Marketplaces and the types of plans they picked, but much remains unknown about changes to the non-group market as a whole.

The Kaiser Family Foundation Survey of Non-Group Health Insurance Enrollees is the first in a series of surveys taking a closer look at the entire non-group market. This first survey was conducted from early April to early May 2014, after the close of the first ACA open enrollment period. It reports the views and experience of all non-group enrollees, including those with coverage obtained both inside and outside the Exchanges, and those who were uninsured prior to the ACA as well as those who had a previous source of coverage (non-group or otherwise)….
• The ACA motivated many non-group enrollees to get coverage, and nearly six in ten Exchange enrollees were previously uninsured ….
• Enrollees in ACA-compliant plans report somewhat worse health than those in pre-ACA plans ….
• Majority gives positive ratings to their new insurance plans and says they are a good value, though four in ten find it difficult to afford their monthly premium ….
• Among plan switchers, as many report paying less as paying more for their new plans, but survey shows some signs of a trend toward narrower provider networks ….
• Plan switchers are less likely to be satisfied with plan costs, maybe because half of them report having their previous plan cancelled ….
• Half got help with enrollment; most say the shopping process was easy, but a third say it was difficult to set up a Marketplace account ….
• In the non-group market, those most likely to feel they have benefited from the ACA are people getting subsidies, those most likely to feel negatively impacted are those who had their plans cancelled ….