Consumer Satisfaction with Affordable Care Act Expansion

Approximately 77% of marketplace enrollees and 88% of Medicaid enrollees were satisfied with their coverage.

A recent survey found that a majority of consumers who signed up for Medicaid or a healthcare plan through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces are now receiving healthcare they would have previously gone without.

The Commonwealth Fund Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey, conducted from February to April 2016, showed the uninsured rate at 12.7%. Though it was not a significant change from 2015, it was a drastic change compared with the rates in 2013 to 2014.

Approximately 28 million people are covered under Medicaid or through healthcare marketplaces only 3 years after its expansion. However, there is much debate about how well these reforms are working.

The survey included 4802 working-age adults, including 881 who had new coverage from the marketplace or Medicaid.

Researchers found a decrease of 13 million uninsured adults since 2013. The rate of older adults (50 to 64 years) was the lowest, but the rate for 2016 was statistically unchanged, according to the survey.

People with low and moderate incomes had the highest uninsured rates, so they concurrently showed the greatest benefits from the law. Researchers found that the rates for adults below 138% of the federal poverty level have stayed the same from 2015 to 2016, as have the rates of adults with incomes between 138% and 249%.

Researchers also found that adults with low and moderate income had higher rates of being uninsured. According the survey results, the researchers discovered that the growth in coverage is due to previously uninsured individuals signing up and not from people leaving employer-based healthcare plans.

There were approximately 45% of people enrolled in marketplace plans and 62% of people enrolled in Medicaid were uninsured prior.

The researchers also found that 66% of marketplace enrollees and 77% of Medicaid enrollees said they had good, very good, or excellent coverage, while 77% of marketplace enrollees and 88% of Medicaid were satisfied with their insurance, according to the survey.

More than half of people with these insurance plans had gone to the doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider to fill a prescription and 61% said they would not have had this access previously.

Access to primary care physicians and specialists were reported to be similar between these groups of people and commercially insured individuals.

The researchers concluded these findings are likely why enrollees rate their plans so highly. They also noted that because the plans are helping people gain access to needed healthcare, the Affordable Care Act’s expansion should be considered successful, according to the study.