CREDIT: AP Photo/J. David Ake
Dissatisfaction with the Affordable Care Act is easing up as a growing number of Americans are successfully signing up for health plans through Obamacare’s state and federal marketplaces, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
While a majority — 66 percent — of those who have visited the online Obamacare portals still say that new marketplaces’ launch has been less than ideal, that number is down ten points from just a month ago. Furthermore, the portion of people visiting the site who say they’ve successfully enrolled in health plans has risen by 16 percentage points since December, and is now up to 40 percent. Those trying to enroll in health coverage are about 50 percent more likely to support Obamacare in general than those who haven’t.
The federal Healthcare.gov website was relaunched at the beginning of December after technical problems kept millions of Americans locked out of the system for the better part of two months. Despite those issues, the Obama administration reported that about three million Americans have enrolled in private health plans since October, and another 6.3 million Americans have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Other surveys have indicated that outreach efforts about the law still have a long way to go. While news of the law’s troubled rollout has reached uninsured Americans, many remain unaware that they are eligible financial assistance under the law or the details of the benefits they qualify for after enrolling, according to recent focus groups by the consulting firm Perry Undem.
“Even though many had successfully come through the enrollment process, they didn’t know what they have,” said one Perry Undem partner in an interview with National Journal. “They knew things like the woman’s face on HealthCare.gov’s home page had changed but they didn’t know key things about the Affordable Care Act, such as that there was financial help available for coverage on the exchange, or that Medicaid had expanded.” The spokesperson added that many of the uninsured still think health insurance is out of their price range, unaware that the law provides subsidies to help lower-income people afford their coverage.
That dynamic is likely to keep changing as more Americans actually interact with the law. But in the meantime, the White House and advocacy groups enrolling the uninsured still have their work cut out for them.