Survey: Americans dislike ACA plan options

Many young Americans have visited HealthCare.gov since October, but they and other site visitors were disappointed with plan choices available there, according to the Commonwealth Fund's second Affordable Care Act tracking survey released yesterday. While the Affordable Care Act is "not likely to collapse under its own weight," consumer dissatisfaction with ACA product offerings continues to be a significant threat, Business Insider reported.

The Commonwealth Fund interviewed 622 adults between the ages of 19 and 64 who are potentially eligible for commercial or Medicaid coverage under the ACA. The survey aimed to learn who's visiting the marketplaces and analyze their shopping experiences.   

In good news for payers and the financial viability of fledgling marketplaces, young adults represented a "particularly striking" share of marketplace visitors, the study found, with 41 percent of visitors between the ages of 19 and 34. Thirty-one percent were between 35 and 49 years old, and 28 percent were ages 50 to 64. Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported being in excellent, very good or good health. These results may ease concerns stemming from early reports that older, sicklier Americans predominated out-of-the gate exchange plan enrollments.

Two out of five marketplace visitors applied for coverage by the end of December. And most respondents who are potentially eligible for new coverage but haven't enrolled said they will likely attempt doing so.

Moreover, the survey showed the ability to compare plans and premiums has improved, with 51 percent of respondents calling it somewhat or very easy to compare costs. But 58 percent of respondents still had trouble finding affordable plans and 60 percent called it impossible, very difficult or somewhat difficult to find coverage meeting their needs. And despite improvements in HealthCare.gov's front-end functionality since its launch, 69 percent of respondents described their marketplace experience as fair or poor.    

Finally, the results revealed a "stubbornly stable" challenge for policymakers: Barely more than half of those eligible for significant ACA subsidies know financial help is available.   

For more:
- here's the Commonwealth Fund survey (.pdf)
- see the Business Insider article

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