The Kaiser Family Foundation has released its first survey of the population finding new health coverage under the recently implemented ACA reform. The survey delineates two main groups taking advantage of the increased access to health insurance: those who had non-group coverage and those who had no insurance at all. The experiences of these two groups may prove important, the report goes on to say, with significant implications on how the success of the ACA reform is judged.
Apparently, the success of the ACA reform in brining people into the insured fold may be limited by financial literacy, insurance literacy, and health literacy deficits evident in the Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
A preliminary read of the survey report findings by The Policy ThinkShop points to an emergent need to address health literacy in the newly covered group in order to ensure that coverage recipients understand how to take advantage of their presumed efficacy in the insurance market and in their presumed increased access to healthcare itself and cost saving prevention health services. According to the survey:
“Health insurance is complicated, and many previous studies have documented gaps in health insurance literacy among consumers. The survey finds evidence of this among those who purchase their own coverage, with many respondents unable to answer some basic questions about their plans. For example, nearly one in five non-group enrollees (18 percent) say they don’t know the amount of their monthly premium and almost four in ten (37 percent) don’t know the amount of their annual deductible. Among those with ACA-compliant plans, three in ten (30 percent) say they don’t know the metal level of their plan (platinum, gold, silver or bronze), and among those who report getting a government subsidy to defray their premium cost, nearly half (47 percent) couldn’t say what the amount of the subsidy is.”
The survey report goes on to highlight the segment of the population surveyed who are more privileged because of their prior experience obtaining insurance:
“Some groups are more knowledgeable than others, including college graduates, those with higher incomes, and small business owners. Plan switchers, who likely have more experience buying coverage in the non-group market, are also more likely than those who were previously uninsured to be able to report the metal level of their plan and their premium and deductible amounts.”
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You can read the entire survey report at:
Report Executive 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.”