Exchanges enroll small but growing numbers of uninsured

Previously-uninsured people still comprise a small share of total marketplace enrollees, according to survey results from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company and The Urban Institute, but enrollment of the previously-uninsured is inching forward.

Ten percent of all previously-uninsured respondents that McKinsey polled last month said they enrolled in a health insurance plan, up from 3 percent in January. Fifty-three percent of previously-uninsured respondents reported paying a premium. And most people who said they're likely to enroll continue to be among those who were previously uninsured, McKinsey found.

Among the uninsured who don't intend to buy insurance on the exchanges, the most common reason for not doing so continues to be perceived unaffordability, the study found. Of respondents who shopped for insurance but didn't sign up, 82 percent were uninsured. Sixty-six percent of subsidy-eligible respondents didn't know financial help was available for buying insurance.

This is the fourth survey on this topic McKinsey has conducted since November. The sample included 2,096 people ages 18 to 64 who weren't Medicaid eligible.

Results of a poll by The Urban Institute based on December data showed that uninsured and lower income respondents were less apt to know about the marketplaces than others, The Washington Post reported.

A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said an educational outreach campaign has targeted areas with high populations of uninsured people, The Wall Street Journal noted.

For both the Obama Administration and payers eyeing a new customer set, thinning the ranks of the uninsured is a key Affordable Care Act objective. "Ultimately, that has to happen for the law to be judged a success," Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Larry Levitt told the Post.

Some states are making marked progress toward this goal. In New York, about 70 percent of enrollees as of Feb. 25 weren't covered before, up from about 50 percent in December, the WSJ noted. New York is among the few states that saw insurance costs drop under the ACA, the article stated.

For more:
- here's the McKinsey article
- see the WSJ article
- read the Washington Post article