Most Obamacare exchange enrollees were previously uninsured, survey finds

Most Obamacare exchange enrollees were previously uninsured, survey finds
June 19 01:00 2014

Most Obamacare exchange enrollees were previously uninsured, survey finds

About six in 10 people who bought their own health insurance through Affordable Care Act exchanges were previously uninsured, according to a new survey providing one of the first comprehensive looks at the insurance landscape after the health care law’s first open enrollment period.

And although a large majority of people who purchased exchange coverage received financial help from the federal government to pay their premiums, affordability remains a major concern for people buying their own coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

The findings are an early view into the impact of Obamacare’s coverage expansion on the individual health insurance market after taking effect in January. The Obama administration hasn’t reported how many of the 8 million people selecting health insurance through the exchanges were previously uninsured, and almost every state running its own insurance marketplace is still studying this question. Other surveys have shown that the uninsured rate has fallen in the past few months, though the exchanges’ role in driving down that rate has been unclear.

The Kaiser findings contradict other surveys that found most people who bought exchange coverage already had insurance. A Rand Corp. survey in April found that one-third of exchange enrollees were previously uninsured. McKinsey & Co. last month reported 26 percent of people purchasing plans in the individual market, on and off the exchange, were previously uninsured.

Kaiser senior vice president Larry Levitt said other surveys underestimated the previously uninsured population by asking people about their insurance status over the past year, which doesn’t account for how often people shift in and out of the individual insurance market. For example, a person who was uninsured when purchasing an exchange health plan may have reported previous coverage if he or she had insurance at some other point during the year…

Read full story at Washington Post (blog)
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