With the second Obamacare enrollment period set to begin this weekend, there’s at least one piece of good news for proponents of the health care law.
A new Gallup poll found that more than 70 percent of Americans who bought new health insurance plans through the government exchanges earlier this year rated the quality of their health coverage as “good” or “excellent.” Many of those who purchased new health insurance policies through the exchanges also recounted positive experiences and said they experienced a high quality of health care. According to the poll, more than two-thirds of the newly insured expressed plans to renew their exchange policies.
Pollsters conducted interviews between Oct. 22 and Nov. 12 on Gallup Daily Tracking, asking Americans with health insurance if they obtained their coverage this year, and if so, whether they had done so through federal or state exchanges.
Other recent studies conducted by the Urban Institute and the Commonwealth Fund have found similar levels of satisfaction among new Obamacare customers, who largely say they’re better off with their new coverage.
If the early predictions about health insurance rates in the Obamacare marketplaces hold true, those positive reports could continue. Although premiums in the individual market have previously experienced average annual increases of 10 percent, the rates for next year’s Obamacare plans aren’t expected to rise very much. While experts warn that some people who are already enrolled could experience relatively sharp increases if they simply renew their current plans, they say that newer plans entering the marketplaces will be much cheaper.
As the health law’s second open enrollment period begins, continuing to educate uninsured Americans about their options will be the next challenge for federal officials. In a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this month, researchers found that two-thirds of respondents knew little about the exchanges they could enter to purchase health plans or the subsidies available to those with low or moderate incomes.
However, during an event at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, D.C. earlier this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell remained optimistic about the health law’s impact among potential enrollees, predicting that 9.1 million people will enroll in a health care exchange this year.
“Will we have challenges? Yes. But the experience is one, overall, that will be a positive one,” Burwell said at the CAP-sponsored event.
The news about consumer satisfaction with Obamacare plans comes amid a period of controversy for the president’s signature health law. A challenge against the law’s subsidies is heading to the Supreme Court. And GOP congressional leaders continue to express outrage over Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber’s recent comments about the law only being able to pass due to the “stupidity of the American voter.”