Cost fears holding uninsured people back from signing up for coverage: Florida Blue survey

People who lack health insurance are hesitant to sign up for coverage because they fear the costs are too high, a new survey shows.

The survey, commissioned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, polled hundreds of Floridians who are uninsured and found that nearly 70% feel they are unable to afford health insurance or that coverage is simply too expensive. All of the survey respondents were between the ages of 21 and 64, and more than half had either been uninsured for three years or longer or had never had insurance before.

Many of those surveyed (65%) said they believe that health plans available on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges would cost between $50 and $500 per month, and just 11% believe they could secure coverage at $10 or less per month. 

Florida Blue said it commissioned the study to coincide with open enrollment for exchange plans, which continues through Jan. 15.

The insurer noted that while patients may perceive these plans as pricey, 4 in 5 people who enroll on the exchanges are able to secure coverage that is $10 or less per month. The vast majority (90%) of people qualify for financial assistance when enrolling, Florida Blue said.

“We realize that people are busy, tired, and everything costs more, but we are here to help them during these challenging times and make it easier than ever to switch plans or sign up for plans, especially during the open enrollment period that closes on Jan. 15," said Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty in the release.

Many of those surveyed said they avoid medical care because of the cost, and 73% said they did not know that if they secured coverage they would likely be able to access key preventive services such as checkups, colonoscopies or mammograms, with $0 in out-of-pocket costs.

Thanks in large part to enhanced subsidies for plans and significant investment in outreach, enrollment in individual market plans has exploded, and sign-ups have been on pace to set a new record during the current open enrollment period.