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Poll: Many still struggle to pay health premiums



WASHINGTON (AP) - Most people who signed up under President Barack Obama's health care law rate their new insurance highly, but a substantial number are struggling with the cost, according to a poll released Thursday.

The survey from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation provides findings that both sides in the health care debate can seize on. It's an ambitious look at people who buy their coverage individually; they're the ones most affected by the Affordable Care Act.

"The critics' view of the law as an unmitigated disaster is far from true, but it's not what advocates might have hoped for either because many people still have concerns about affordability," said Drew Altman, CEO of the foundation, an information clearinghouse about the health care system.

The poll found that Obama's law is achieving one of its main goals by covering the uninsured. Fifty-seven percent of the 8 million people who bought a plan through the new insurance exchanges were previously uninsured.

But greater access to coverage has come at a price that's uncomfortably steep for many.

Despite the availability of generous subsidies, 4 in 10 of those who bought a plan that meets the law's specifications said they had difficulty paying their monthly premiums. That's a sobering reality check on assertions by the Obama administration that coverage is readily affordable.

Overall, employer coverage got much better ratings in the poll than did health law plans, which are meant for self-employed people and workers without access through their jobs.

The survey looked at several groups of people in the individual health care market:

-those who bought plans in the new insurance exchanges.

-those who bought plans outside the exchanges that nonetheless complied with the law's specifications.

-people who switched from previous coverage, either because it was canceled or they found a better deal.

-those who were able to keep the plan that they had before.

Since just the start of this year, the health law has come to dominate the individual insurance market.

The poll found that 68 percent of people purchasing their own coverage are enrolled in plans that comply with the law's standards. But those same consumers are divided about the law's impact. Roughly similar shares say have benefited (34 percent) as report being negatively affected (29 percent).

Among other findings:

-7 in 10 rate their new coverage as excellent or good. That compares with 85 percent of those covered by employer plans and 85 percent of those who kept their previous individual coverage.

-63 percent of those covered by health law plans said they are confident they will be able to pay for routine medical care. Enrollees were divided about paying for a major illness or accident, with 52 percent expressing confidence and 46 percent saying they were not too confident or not at all confident.

-Plan switchers, meaning those who found a better deal or whose previous coverage was canceled, were divided on the cost of their new premiums. Taking into account subsidies, 46 percent said that their premiums are lower now. But 39 percent reported higher premiums. Plan switchers were less likely to be satisfied with costs, perhaps because nearly half of them had their previous plan canceled. The wave of cancellations last fall was a major political problem for the White House.

-People who bought coverage through the insurance exchanges were more likely to be in poor health, a potentially significant finding for its impact on future premiums. Twenty percent reported their health as fair or poor, compared with 6 percent of those who were able to remain in their old plan.

The survey was based on telephone interviews conducted from April 3 through May 11, among a nationally representative random sample of 742 adults ages 18-64 who purchased their own insurance. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for results based on the full sample, 5 percentage points for those in plans that comply with the health law, and 6 percentage points for those in plans bought through the exchanges.

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stevop62 June 19 2014 at 10:06 PM

F,U.....OBAMA,,,You are Destroying.......This Country and The Entire WORLD!...

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2 replies
sal7851 stevop62 June 20 2014 at 12:29 AM

Its what he and George Soros planned from the beginning, Obama is the greatest sleeper agent in history, you watch.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Michele stevop62 June 20 2014 at 3:53 AM

Its been his agenda the whole time. Have people noticed how fast he is moving now to get things done and destroy this country more before he is gone 2016? He is moving at a very fast rate now.

I don't have insurance, can't get it, was laid off in 2012 and haven't been able to find a job. But, get this, I had to pay taxes! An unemployed person since Dec. 2012 and I had to pay Uncle Sam. I don't qualify for Medicaid either.

So, Mr. Prezzie, I hope when you're gone, we get a President that cares about this country and cares about the people and listens to the people. Not Hillary. We don't need another liar.

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3 replies
sisbabesis June 19 2014 at 9:47 PM

It is a strain for me financially.
REALLY A STRAIN!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
buddyboygabe June 19 2014 at 10:55 PM

GITMO terrorist gets a better health care coverage than these hard working families, furthermore, and vets are getting a SHAFT by these VA hospitals and this president ran on campaign back in 2007 by "blistering attack" on GB, and Obama completely FAILED to taken care of these dedicated service men/women!

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1 reply
ga7smi buddyboygabe June 19 2014 at 11:31 PM

blind bagger

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3 replies
ga7smi June 19 2014 at 11:31 PM

did anyone expect affordable to be affordable?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
buddyboygabe ga7smi June 19 2014 at 11:56 PM

yea, BLAME Obama, "health care cost will be reduce by over $2,700/families" that's MY promise!!!! or "if you like your health care you can keep it, PERIOD!!!!!"

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Linda June 20 2014 at 7:11 AM

OBAMA IS A SCREW UP IF I EVER SEEN ONE! HE IS DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY. AND HIS OBAMACARE HE CAN GET ON AS WELL COZ IF IT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PEOPLE THEN HE TOO SHOULD BE ON IT AND ALL THOSE IN THE SENATE AS WELL CAN ALL BE ON THIS PLAN AS WELL..NOT THE GOOD HEALTH CARE PLANS THEY ARE ALL GETTING..NOT WHAT WE ARE GETTING THAT IS FOR SURE! THIS IS A JOKE ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. NOBODY CAN AFFORD MUCH ANYMORE THESE DAYS AND NOW WE ARE FORCED TO BUY INTO OBAMAS BS. NOT RIGHT. I THOUGHT THIS WAS A FREE COUNTRY BUT OBVIOUSLY NOT WHEN WE ARE TOLD WHAT TO DO AND FORCED TO DO IT. JUST NOT RIGHT. CANNOT WAIT FOR OBAMA TO BE GONE. NO MORE OF HIS BS. SICK OF IT.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
remlegalsite June 20 2014 at 1:36 AM

......This country is losing just about in every area.....all because of the actions and non actions of who all those voters that loved him are responsible for due to their lack of perspective, and the manner in which they were and continue to be, managed, by Obama's love affair treatment of the entire left-wing Media who are, even in view of all that is going south, still protecting him from the truth about what he has and is doing to this beautiful country.....

Flag Reply +4 rate up
micknc2 June 20 2014 at 3:54 AM

It's just not health premiums.....its paying for everything! My 28 year old daughter, with a BA in Business Management, is unemployeed at the moment. The company she went to work for after graduation went out of business and she has been unable to find a full-time job for almost 4 years now. She has picked up P/T jobs, and some temp work through an agency, but not a good full-time job. She was sharing an apartment with two girlfriends, but had to move back home because she couldn't pay her part of the rent. She is asthmatic but has no healthcare. She doesn't qualify for Medicaid and can't afford Obamacare. Plus there are also $37,000+ in student loans that have to be paid off. She is frustrated beyond tears. So, its more than just being unable toafford a healthcare payment. It goes a lot deeper than that.

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1 reply
cherrym99 micknc2 June 20 2014 at 5:26 AM

Exactly...I expressed that exact concern on before Obamacare took effect and was lamblasted by liberals that apparently didn't need Obamacare....the worst is being forced to pay a fine for not being able to afford health care in the first place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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impactvqi June 19 2014 at 8:50 PM

life is great thanks, oboma

Flag Reply +2 rate up
mazd273 June 20 2014 at 12:53 AM

The majority of the people in the ACA or Obamacare are still better off then they were. Those results would be even better if he had some cooperation from the do nothing republicans & their wicked stepchildren teabaggers. But no they're too busy trying to gum up the works for everyone.

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3 replies
welcome timothy June 19 2014 at 11:26 PM

The "struggle" to pay health care premiums was based on a question if those on the exchanges had a catastrophic illness could they afford to pay, and 52% said yes. I'm sure if the exchanges didn't exist and the question was asked to anyone regardless of insurance they had the percentage wouldn't be much lower.

The ACA is doing what it is supposed to do: Decrease the number of uninsured, For the past decade the number of uninsured has dramatically increased year after year. For the first time in over 10 years the number of uninsured is actually decreasing not increasing.

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4 replies
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