Affordable Care Act
Do People On Obamacare Like Obamacare?
Published on January 26, 2017
How Do People On Obamacare Feel About Obamacare?
For years now politicians have argued about the Affordable Care Act (the law commonly known as Obamacare).
Now, Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration are working to replace Obamacare with something else in the weeks and months to come.
Policymakers debate the virtues of the legislation, but there is little research on how the people on Obamacare actually feel about it.
To answer that question, we surveyed thousands of our customers enrolled in Obamacare health insurance plans. We interviewed them once in November 2016 and again in January 2017, to see if their feelings had changed.
We found that the cost of coverage under Obamacare is a burden for many enrollees, and support for the repeal of the law has decreased. However, several of the key reforms proposed by Republicans are strikingly popular.
Let’s examine the survey results in more detail.
Obamacare is too costly for most, but support for repeal is diminishing
A large majority of respondents to eHealth’s survey said that their coverage under Obamacare is too expensive, but there is a diminishing appetite for repeal of the law.
- Obamacare is too expensive: 78% of respondents to our January survey felt that their health insurance plan was too expensive; even among respondents who said they used tax credits (Obamacare subsidies) to help them pay for their health plan, 58% still felt their coverage cost too much.
- Increased support for Obamacare: In November only 26% opposed the repeal of the Obamacare law, but by January that figure had increased to 40%. Similarly, only 34% of November respondents said that Obamacare had been good for them or their families, but that figure increased to 43% in January.
Obamacare enrollees show strong support for key Republican proposals
Under Obamacare, most people are required to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. All Obamacare plans offer the same suite of benefits, including coverage for maternity care and brand-name prescription drugs.
Subsidies designed to make Obamacare coverage more affordable are only available to people meeting strict income requirements, making coverage significantly more expensive for some than for others.
Republican proposals to replace the Obamacare law would do away with these things. Based on our survey results, most Obamacare enrollees would approve of the changes:
- People want freedom to choose their benefits: 89% of respondents to the January survey felt that people should be able to choose the benefits they want covered under their health insurance plan.
- People want freedom to not to buy insurance that doesn’t cover maternity benefits: 76% agreed that people should not be required to buy a plan with maternity coverage
- People want freedom to not to buy insurance that doesn’t cover brand-name prescription drugs: 61% felt that they ought to be able to choose a plan that only covered generic prescription drugs rather than brand-name drugs.
- Dislike for mandates and tax penalties: Among January respondents, strong majorities felt that no one should be required to purchase health insurance (60%) or face a tax penalty for going uninsured (67%).
- People want broader access to tax credits: In January, nearly nine-in-ten respondents (88%) indicated support for broader consumer access to tax credits, regardless of their income.
American health insurance shoppers are paying attention
eHealth’s November 2016 and January 2017 surveys on the future of Obamacare garnered a stronger response than any surveys the company has run before. More than 4,400 responses were collected in November and more than 1,300 more were collected in January.
If that’s any indication, you can be sure that American health insurance consumers will be paying close attention to future developments as the administration and Congress move forward with their plans to reform Obamacare.
eHealth will be paying attention too!
To learn more about the surveys mentioned in this article, please review eHealth’s January 23, 2017 press release.