With some insurance companies deciding to end their participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, ObamaCare customers are weighing dwindling options – and the effect on the ACA’s reputation has been dramatic.
Roughly one-third of consumers who purchased on ACA exchanges do not expect that their present insurer (33%) – or any other carrier (34%) – will offer insurance through their exchange in 2017. And 32% do not think they will find options on the exchange that meet their needs.
Click here to read an earlier GfK release on consumers and the ACA.
Among consumers who purchased on the exchanges, 13% said they would choose to go without insurance altogether if their current coverage was not offered. Among those who earn less than $25,000 a year, this number jumps to an alarming 34%.
About four in ten (43%) exchange users say they would seek new options through the exchanges – with levels highest among 50 to 64 year olds. Another one-third (35%) would go directly to an insurer or agent.
Most of those who do return to the ACA marketplace will not be worrying about brand loyalty; two thirds (66%) say they would choose the best option to meet their needs, regardless of the insurance company. Only 12% would make a point of staying with their current carrier, while two in ten (20%) say they would explore coverage through a different insurer.
“As a ’brand,’ the ACA has taken some hits in 2016,” said Liz Reyer Vice President and health insurance lead on GfK’s Financial Services team. “While most observers expected insurance companies to reassess their offerings on the exchanges now and then, the outright defections we have seen have quickly limited consumers’ choices and eroded confidence that the ACA will find ways to meet their needs. We need to see a high-profile campaign making clear the options that consumers still have – so no one goes without insurance unnecessarily – and stronger collaboration between the insurance industry and the government in keeping the ACA viable.”
The GfK survey was completed by 921 US consumers, ages 18 and above, who have health insurance (including 48 who currently rely on the ACA for insurance) in August 2016. An additional sample of exchange purchasers was added to provide a more robust read of this population, bringing the total to 301. Respondents are members of GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, the only commercially available online probability panel in the marketplace; making the sample truly projectable to the US population.
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