Survey finds low consumer confidence in ACA marketplaces

Insurance company pillar

Insurance companies' high-profile retreats from the Affordable Care Act marketplaces have eroded many customers' confidence in the exchanges, according to a new survey.

Approximately one-third of ACA consumers in the survey expressed skepticism that they would get coverage through their exchange from either their current insurer or another carrier in 2017, according to an announcement of the findings.

The prospect of fewer insurance carriers operating on the exchanges has sparked worries as the number of regions with only one insurer has risen, and started conversations about contingency plans should a state's exchange be left entirely without insurers.

It’s not surprising the insurance companies’ defections have taken their toll, according to 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,” she said the announcement.

Survey results also indicate that only 43 percent of consumers on the exchanges who lost their current insurer would look for new options on the exchange, with 35 percent indicating they would purchase insurance directly from an insurance company or agent. Brand loyalty also remains a scarce commodity, as only 12 percent of consumers who said they would return to the marketplace indicated they would stick with their current carrier.

Meanwhile, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell addressed a group of health insurance executives Wednesday in the District of Columbia to assuage their worries about the marketplaces, The Hill reported. Burwell hinted that the Obama administration is planning to pilot further modifications to the exchanges, adding that the White House has "heard your concerns" about potential threats to the Affordable Care Act's risk pool.