2014 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Most Workers Continue to be Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, but Growing Number Give Low Ratings to Health Care System

Source: Paul Fronstin, Ruth Helman, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), EBRI Notes, Vol. 35 No. 9, September 2014

From the abstract:
Four years after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), implementation of many of its provisions and delay of others, an increasing majority of workers continue to give low marks to the U.S. health care system. This paper examines public opinion with respect to various aspects of the United States health care system using data from the 2014 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) as well as from the 1998-2012 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Health Confidence Survey (HCS) and the 2013 WBS. The WBS and HCS examine a broad spectrum of health care issues, including workers’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future of the health care system and the Medicare program, and their attitudes toward benefits in the workplace. Asked to rate the U.S. health care system, many workers describe it as poor (29 percent) or fair (32 percent). One-quarter consider it good, while only a small minority rate it as very good (10 percent) or excellent (1 percent). Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost. The 2013-2014 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) and the 1998-2012 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Health Confidence Survey (HCS) find that the percentage of workers rating the health care system as poor more than doubled between 1998-2006 (rising from 14 percent to 32 percent); however, while between 2006-2013 that percentage fell slightly, it jumped to 29 percent in 2014. In contrast to the ratings for the health care system overall, workers’ ratings of their own health plans continue to be generally favorable. One-half of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied. While 47 percent of workers indicate they are extremely or very confident about their ability to get the treatments they need today, only 30 percent are confident about their ability to get needed treatments during the next 10 years, and just 19 percent are confident about this once they are eligible for Medicare.