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Poll: Most satisfied with nation’s healthcare system

Nearly half a year removed from the start of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period – the time in which consumers are required to secure health insurance benefits if they haven’t already – an overwhelming number of Americans say the country’s healthcare system is working for them, based on a recent survey.

Polling research firm Gallup recently asked more than 1,500 adults about the state of America’s healthcare, particularly as it related to themselves and whether or not they were benefiting from it. Approximately 66 percent of respondents said that they were satisfied with it, while the remaining one-third said that they were dissatisfied.

Additionally, the survey examined individuals’ responses based on whether they were insured or not. For example, of the two-thirds who said they were content with the nation’s healthcare system, approximately 7 in 10 had a health plan in place. One-third who didn’t have coverage were similarly sanguine.

“Most Americans do not believe the healthcare system in this country is in crisis,” said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup. “This may in part reflect the current finding that about two-thirds of Americans are satisfied with the way the healthcare system is working for them, including majorities in most subgroups except those who do not have health insurance.”

Those who think the healthcare system could use some work tend to be those who aren’t insured. Of the one-third who were dissatisfied, approximately 60 percent didn’t have a plan in place, Gallup revealed. Meanwhile, about 1 in 4 with coverage said they weren’t impressed with how their plans were working for them.

Uninsured plan on remaining that way
Still, there are those Americans who have no intention of buying insurance despite the open enrollment deadline approaching, which is March 31. Approximately 1 in 3 uninsured adults in a separate poll indicated that they didn’t plan on buying a policy – whether through the exchanges or otherwise – even though they could be charged a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their annual income. Consumer financial services company Bankrate commissioned the survey.

When respondents were asked to give an explanation for why they expected to remain without a health insurance policy after March 31, the most common response was that they didn’t think they’d be able to afford it.

“This is a staggeringly high percentage,” said Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst at Bankrate. “The government has spent over half a billion dollars promoting the Affordable Care Act and more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans still don’t know about the subsidies.”

Other justifications for not buying a health plan, according to the poll, were not needing it because they considered themselves to be healthy at 13 percent, while 17 percent said they opposed the ACA, thus avoiding a plan purchase out of principle.

Many polls have indicated that sentiment has been weak for the ACA. Some have contended that the reform law may not be feasible if there aren’t enough people enrolling. However, President Barack Obama recently told WebMD that the millions of people have utilized the federal and state-based exchanges enough to keep the program in place.

“Well, at this point, enough people are signing up that the Affordable Care Act is going to work,” said Obama, according to The Washington Post. “The insurance companies will continue to offer plans. It will be a larger number than that by the end of March 31, the deadline to get insurance this year.”

Health officials remind people that they will still be able to enroll for a health plan through the exchanges after the end of March, but they will likely be charged with a penalty for failure to sign up in the six-month window that began in October.

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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