Exchanges Putting Only a Small Dent in the Number of Uninsured

Only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey of consumers thought to be eligible for the health-law marketplaces. The result is based on a sampling of 4,563 consumers performed between November and January, of whom 389 had enrolled in new insurance.

One reason for people declining to purchase plans was affordability. That was cited by 52% of those who had shopped for a new plan but not purchased one in McKinsey’s most recent sampling, performed in January. Another common problem was technical challenges in buying the plans, which 30% mentioned. (WSJ)

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  1. Andrew says:

    “Only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured.”

    So it seems that the only ones who are signing up on the marketplace are those who previously had insurance. So perhaps regardless of health care reform, the only people who will get insurance are those whose benefits out weigh the costs of coverage.

    • Matthew says:

      Evidently ObamaCare is failing at reaching those who were falling between the cracks in the past health insurance policies. These were the exact people they were marketing towards.

      • James M. says:

        As a consumer I don’t feel secure in my plan, I don’t feel secure in my system and I worry about the longevity and long term effects ObamaCare will bring along.

  2. Thomas says:

    “One reason for people declining to purchase plans was affordability. That was cited by 52% of those who had shopped for a new plan but not purchased one”

    The point of ACA was to make health insurance affordable for everyone. Yet cost is still an issue.

    • Will P. says:

      Obamacare is a failure because it didn’t meet its goal of providing healthcare to everyone. It also created additional problems to the previously insured individual.

      • James M. says:

        As a previously insured individual, not only has it increased my monthly premiums for coverage, but it is a giant headache to understand all of the intricacies. If it wasn’t for this health policy blog, I wouldn’t understand a thing!

  3. Frank H. says:

    Obamacare intention was to provide universal healthcare, giving every American an insurance coverage. Yet, this hasn’t been achieved. If only 11% of the people enrolled in the program were uninsured, that means that a vast amount of Americans remain uninsured.

  4. Walter Q. says:

    “Another common problem was technical challenges in buying the plans, which 30% mentioned.”

    Yet exactly how vast would the improvements be though? It is not like it would be 90% had their not been technical challenges.

  5. Philip T. says:

    The fact that 80% of the population is declining to purchase a new coverage plan due to cost and technical difficulties, reflects that ACA has fundamental issues. If the target population (those who would be receiving the benefits) is not enrolling in the program, Obamacare is useless. For the program to be effective it had to focus on the needs of the target population and adjust to their needs.

    • Bill B. says:

      People inherently do not like change. Because this is such a drastic change in their coverage, they want to stick with what they have and what is familiar.

      • Paul C. says:

        They want to stay in a program that have worked for them, not an improvised program with political intentions rather than actual solutions.

  6. Roman M. says:

    Getting insurance under the new law is expensive and laborious, the two things we need to solve a problem, make it harder to get and costlier. The ACA makes me lose faith in our government…

  7. Buster says:

    Actually forcing insurers to cancel policies and then asking people to enroll in poorly-designed exchanges will probably increase the uninsured.

  8. Lonya says:

    All that was needed were a few laws regulating the insurance companies to accept ones with pre-existing conditions and kids to stay on their parents policy until 26yo. Didn’t need a government takeover and why all the crying about 20 year olds not signing up when they’re allowed to stay on parents policy? It’s all screwed up now with 8 of my friends getting cancelled and forced to go on Obamacare at double the premium with deductibles they never had before. A very stupid law was passed and shoved down our throats instead of regulating the existing insurance companies.

    • John R. Graham says:

      Lonya, the first thing you recommend is one big factor in driving the premiums up. Indeed, under your proposal, I think costs might have gone up higher (but I am not sure).

      You did not mention retroactive transfers between insurers so that the ones who enroll healthier patients pay some of their profits to those who enroll sicker patients. PPACA has three such programs – risk corridors, risk adjustment, and reinsurance. I have written critically about these.

      However, without them, forcing insurers to accept people with pre-existing conditions (i.e. allowing people to wait until they become sick to enroll) would drive premiums sky-high.

      Perhaps you dislike the subsidies and the age-rating limits of 3:1, which also drive up premiums. To be sure, if there were no subsidies, and accurate age-rating (approximately 6.5:1, as I understand), then premiums would be lower, especially for young people.

      But they would still go up if you forced insurers to accept patients who waited until they became sick to enroll.

    • Charles T. says:

      The problem is that the law was designed for political purposes rather than to provide actual solutions. Policymakers were astonished with the amount of 20 year olds living without insurance. They were worried that as the baby boomers get older, and sicker, the healthcare system was not going to be able to handle the load. With Obamacare policymakers wanted to prevent this from happening and showing to the population (specially the older folks) that they were going to take action. The ACA is helping the older population (which is the one that frequently votes) and imposing a tax on the youth (many of whom believe that a socialist state is best for all).

      The issue is that Obamacare is not a solution. The program is not helping the older population and the youth is not being lured to the bait. Politics was behind ACA, and as a result a political program was established. Time will prove that Obamacare hurt American economy.

    • John Fembup says:

      Lonya, you make a fundamental error when you say:

      “All that was needed were a few laws regulating the insurance companies”

      In other words, you see the main problem as an insurance problem, so the solution must be an insurance solution. But that’s wrong.

      The reason medical insurance is expensive is that medical care is expensive. The one drives the other. The main problem is not that people cannot get insurance – the main problem is that people cannot get adequate medical care. That’s because medical care has become unaffordable.

      Trying to solve the problem of high medical cost by tootling around with insurance will simply not work. If otherwise, it would have worked sometime in the past 50 years. That hasn’t happened.

      And while the nation and its leaders have been distracted believing there is a solution thru insurance – Medicare, Medicaid, more regulation of private insurance – the underlying medical cost problem only worsened. That’s 50 years wasted that could have been spent trying to find an answer for the main problem.

      I don’t suggest that insurance is, or will ever be, unnecessary. I so say that insurance will never be affordable until America can find a way to deliver medical care more effectively at less overall cost.

  9. Martin E. says:

    I think there is a high correlation between being uninsured and living on welfare. How can we to provide coverage to those uninsured if many live from what the government gives to them, especially when the insurance is expensive and difficult to get?

  10. Linda Gorman says:

    In evaluating this, it would help to know how many people who purchase insurance in a given year were previously uninsured prior to ObamaCare.