U.S. consumers who dislike their new health coverage may have more money and fewer health problems than consumers who like their new coverage.
Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund have published data raising that possibility in a summary of results from a recent telephone survey of 4,425 U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 conducted from April 9 through June 2, 2014. The researchers compared those results with results from an earlier telephone survey of 6,132 U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 conducted from July 15, 2013, to Sept. 8, 2013.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has now expanded adults’ access to Medicaid in many states; created a public health insurance exchange system; created standardized “qualified health plans” (QHPs) that can be sold either through public exchanges or outside exchanges; and imposed many new underwriting and benefits design requirements on ordinary individual and family major medical coverage.
The percentage of Commonwealth Fund survey participants who said they were completely uninsured dropped to 15 percent in the spring, from 20 percent last fall. A majority of all of the people who had gotten new coverage through the exchanges or Medicaid — 58 percent — said they thought they were better off, and only 9 percent said they were worse off.
Most of the holders of new coverage who said they had tried to get new primary care doctors or see specialists said they got access to care quickly. The researchers found that optimism and satisfaction levels were lower among healthier people and people with higher incomes.