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EBRI: Consumers still confident about health care

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U.S. adults seem to be feeling a little more satisfied with their own health coverage these days, and a little more confident that their employers will continue to offer group health insurance plans.

Paul Fronstin, an analyst at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), has reported that finding in a summary of results from a telephone survey of 800 U.S. residents ages 21 and older.

EBRI, a think tank known for its retirement confidence surveys, found that the share of survey participants who were somewhat, very or extremely confident about their ability to get needed treatments was 83 percent, the same as in 2011, and up slightly from 81 percent in 2010.

The share of participants who said they were somewhat, very or extremely confident about their ability to afford care without financial hardship increased to 64 percent, from 61 percent, and the share who said their employers are somewhat, very or extremely likely to continue to offer health coverage increased to 82 percent, from 81 percent.

But EBRI found that the survey participants were less confident about the future than about the present.

About 64 percent of participants said they were at least somewhat confident about their ability to pay for health care without financial hardship today; only 55 percent said they were confident that they would continue to be able to afford care over the next 10 years.

EBRI has been conducted the health confidence survey since 2002. It found a sharp drop in health system confidence in the mid-aughts, and it found in 2010 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) did nothing that year to improve confidence.

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