Of the 82 percent of consumers surveyed who consider themselves “well” or “adequately” insured, nearly all (96 percent) are somewhat or very satisfied with their health plans overall, according to a new Deloitte poll. Many are concerned the new health reform law will bring about significant changes to their current coverage. Of those enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans, 61 percent believe their employer will reduce benefits for dependents and retirees and 32 percent think employers will probably pay the penalty and discontinue health coverage for employees altogether.

Among survey respondents who consider themselves “very knowledgeable” about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), many also indicated concerns over the impact health reform will have on access to quality health care. They believe that some hospitals and medical practices will close (72 percent) and that their employers may drop their coverage (51 percent).

The cost of care is also an issue for the majority of consumers. Survey respondents anticipate increases in taxes (76 percent), health insurance costs – including premiums and out-of pocket expenses (65 percent) – hospitals and physicians services (66 percent), and the cost of medications (54 percent) as reform is implemented.

Age is a major factor contributing to opinions about health care reform. In general, younger adults are more positive about health reform than older consumers. According to the survey, more than half (51 percent) of 18-34 year-olds believe that the reform act will reduce health care costs in the long term, compared to respondents 45-54 years old (23 percent), 55-64 years old (36 percent), and 65 years old and above (30 percent).

The Deloitte survey also identified that consumers with employer-sponsored coverage seem to be the most skeptical and expect to experience negative impacts from the implementation of reform. This segment of survey respondents agree with the following:

  • The cost of the health reform act will be higher than expected (82 percent), which is significantly different from those who are individually insured (68 percent).
  • The health reform act will not reduce health care costs in the long-term (58 percent), which is significantly different from the uninsured (43 percent).
  • Employers will pass the increased cost of health benefits through to their employees (80 percent).

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Eighty-four percent of all consumers surveyed have health insurance.
  • More than half (56 percent) of those surveyed believe that incentives for doctors and hospitals to use electronic medical records will be effective or very effective at improving the overall performance of the health care system.
  • Cutting the rate of growth of Medicare costs will be only somewhat or not effective at improving the overall performance of the health care system according to 60 percent of those surveyed.
  • Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed believe the issue is not whether an organization is for-profit or not-for-profit — it’s what they do that matters.
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents agree that a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations stimulates positive competition and innovation.

Source: Deloitte