2015 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Most Workers Continue to Give Low Ratings to Health Care System, But Declining Number Report Health Care Cost Increases

Source: Paul Fronstin, Ruth Helman, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), EBRI Notes, Vol. 36 No. 9, September 2015

From the abstract:
Five years after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), implementation of many of its provisions and delay of others, a 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 2015 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 2013-2014 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. The 2015 WBS finds that when asked to rate the U.S. health care system, many workers describe it as poor (25 percent) or fair (30 percent). Only a small minority rate it as excellent (4 percent) or very good (13 percent). Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost. 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. Only 9 percent are not satisfied with their current health plan. One-half of workers with health insurance coverage report having experienced an increase in health care costs in the past year, an historical low in the survey. The percentage reporting that they did not experience a change in health care costs increased from 36 percent to 47 percent between 2014 and 2015. Workers experiencing cost increases continue to report that they are changing the way they use the health care system. Nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) say these increased costs lead them to try to take better care of themselves, and 52 percent indicate they choose generic drugs more often. One-half also say they go to the doctor only for more serious conditions or symptoms (49 percent) and about 4 in 10 delay going to the doctor (43 percent).