HealthBeat

HealthBeat

Insuring the uninsured

Nearly 60 percent of people who purchased health plans through insurance exchanges were uninsured prior to purchasing their plan, according to a new survey.

The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted the survey from early April to early May, after the close of the open enrollment period. The survey includes people who purchased plans inside and outside the exchange, as well as those who did and did not have coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act.

The survey found 57 percent of people who purchased plans in the exchange were previously uninsured. Most of them reported going without coverage for two or more years.

About 70 percent of those who were previously uninsured said they decided to purchase a plan because of the ACA. About a quarter said they would have gotten it anyway, according to the survey.

Nearly half of those who had prior insurance coverage say their current plan premium – taking into account government subsidies – is lower than their previous plan’s premium. About 40 percent say it’s higher, according to the survey.

Here are some other interesting findings from the survey:

-About half of individual plan enrollees have coverage purchased from an exchange.

-Nearly half of those enrolled in plan say they’re not confident they would be able to afford to pay for a major illness or injury.

- About 40 percent of enrollees said it’s difficult to afford their monthly premiums. More than 60 percent are worried their premiums will become unaffordable in the future.

-Those most likely to feel they have benefited from the ACA are people receiving government financial assistance for plan premiums.

-Those most likely to feel they have negatively affected by the law are people who had a plan canceled in the past year.

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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