LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- While more than 7.1 million Americans signed up for coverage in 2015 through a Health Insurance Exchange to meet the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) health insurance mandate, a recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) found that the 17 percent of Americans who remain uninsured cite affordability, disagreement with principle of the ACA, lack of knowledge about the mandate, and being unsure of how to apply for coverage as top reasons for not carrying health insurance.
The survey found that more than half (52 percent) of uninsured Americans are not informed about the ACA, and nearly four in 10 claim to have not heard about the Health Exchanges. 62 percent of uninsured Americans have heard of the Exchanges, but only three percent have called one of the Exchanges or spoken with a navigator or guide about an Exchange. While most of the uninsured remain unsure of their plans regarding health insurance, 26 percent plan to obtain or apply for new coverage in 2015.
"Our survey results tell us that despite a significant increase in the number of Americans now carrying insurance, the remaining uninsured continue to be the least informed about how and where to get health care insurance, presenting unique challenges come tax season," said Hector De La Torre, executive director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. "The uninsured continue to be disproportionately younger, less likely to be employed, and less able to afford routine health costs than the general population."
The majority of Americans are satisfied with most elements of the health care system today and 63 percent do not plan on making any changes to their health care in 2015. The general population is most satisfied with the health care system's focus on preventive care (79 percent) and their health insurance access (77 percent). However, nearly four in 10 are dissatisfied with the availability of wellness discounts available through their employers and are particularly interested in more offerings related to preventive screenings/vaccinations, exercise programs, and healthy food options.
Other key findings from the survey include:
Affordability remains a major factor in the level of or lack of health insurance coverage for Americans.
- While only 25 percent of uninsured Americans can afford routine health expenses, 90 percent of continuously insured Americans and 61 percent of newly insured Americans are able to afford their routine health expenses.
- More than half of the general population pays less than $1,000 in insurance premiums annually; 16 percent pays more than $3,000 per year.
- 80 percent of uninsured Americans state that they spend less than $500 a year on routine health expenses, compared to 72 percent of the newly insured and 55 percent of the continuously insured who state the same.
While the majority of Americans support most aspects of the ACA, a small majority object to the tax penalty for noncompliance with the individual mandate.
- More than half (54 percent) of Americans oppose the new law's requirement to acquire health insurance or pay a tax penalty for opting out.
- The aspects of the ACA that the general population supports include:
- Allowing everyone to qualify for health insurance despite any pre-existing conditions (90 percent)
- The removal of annual or lifetime limits on coverage (89 percent)
- Providing coverage under a parent's plan for children up to age 26 (79 percent)
- Providing eligible individuals and families who earn less than $92,000 a year with government subsidies that lower the cost of health insurance plans (78 percent)
Since the introduction of the ACA, more than half of Americans (56 percent) are now more concerned about being able to regain insurance coverage if they were to lose what they have now, and 44 percent are now less concerned.
Nearly one in five Americans said their employers may change insurance plan options in the upcoming year.
- Half of the general population does not expect their employer to make any changes to their health care benefits.
- However, 12 percent believe that their employer will reduce or eliminate a company contribution to cover health insurance costs.
"The Transamerica Center for Health Studies sought to identify the views of the American public during the second open enrollment period of the ACA's implementation," said De La Torre.
The full report, Pulse Check on Health Care Coverage, is available here: https://www.transamericacenterforhealthstudies.org/health-care-research
A 10-minute online survey was conducted from November 17 through December 8, 2014 among 1,203 U.S. adults age 18-64 (225 were uninsured). Figures for education, age by gender, region, and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with the population of U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 (based on 2013 CPS), separately by race (Hispanic, Asian, Black/African American, and All Other), and ultimately combined into a total General Population sample. An additional separate weight was created for U.S. residents ages 18-64 who are currently uninsured, utilizing the most current information from Gallup (March 2014) for age and ethnicity to ensure representativeness for analyses of that subgroup as well. Our weighting algorithm included a propensity score which allows us to adjust for attitudinal and behavioral differences between those who are online versus those who are not, those who join online panels versus those who do not, and those who responded to this survey versus those who did not.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
In September 2014, TCHS released findings of its national survey of the U.S. General Adult Population and Employers regarding their attitudes toward health care. The overall goals for the study were to illuminate emerging trends, promote awareness, and help educate the public. TCHS conducted brief follow-up surveys, "pulse checks," separately among the general adult population and employers. Harris Poll was commissioned to conduct the survey for TCHS. TCHS is not affiliated with Harris Poll.
ABOUT THE TRANSAMERICA CENTER FOR HEALTH STUDIES℠
The Transamerica Center for Health Studies℠ is a division of the Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. TCHS is dedicated to identifying, researching and analyzing the most relevant health care issues facing the public today. TCHS helps to inform the national health care conversation by bringing clarity and confidence to complex health care and health coverage decisions. Through the development of comprehensive, unbiased tools and the publication of its research findings, TCHS offers Americans a personalized way to navigate the financial implications of health care decisions. The Transamerica Institute is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. For more information please refer to www.transamericacenter.org.
ABOUT HARRIS POLL
With more than 60 years of experience in public opinion research and polling, Harris Polls have become media staples. With a proven track record of uncovering Americans' motivations and behaviors on topics of prime interest to media and consumers, the Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition for objectivity, representation and accuracy.
Contact: Katie Fitzpatrick, 952-346-6011
SOURCE Transamerica Center for Health Studies