Survey: Nearly 4.5M had no health insurance

About 4.5 million of the 8 million Americans who signed up for health insurance under the new federal health care law did not previously have insurance, according to a national survey that provides the most detailed look to date at who enrolled for coverage under the Affordable Care Act this year.
MCT Wire
Jun 21, 2014

The tally provides important new evidence that the marketplaces, or exchanges, created by the law have substantially expanded access to insurance nationally, one of the legislation’s central goals.

Some of the law’s leading opponents have claimed that most of the people who enrolled for coverage already had insurance. But the new survey data from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that just 39 percent of enrollees were previously covered.

Among those who did not have insurance already, most had lacked coverage for two years or more.

“The exchanges played a key role in helping people get coverage,” said Liz Hamel, who directs survey research at Kaiser. The foundation is not connected to the Kaiser Permanente health plan.

The nationwide poll surveyed 742 adults, ages 18 to 64, who bought their own health care plans. It was conducted from April 3 to May 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The survey also found that those who did previously have coverage and subsequently bought a plan on the new marketplace more often than not saved money.

Forty-six percent of people who switched from an old plan reported that they were paying less for their coverage this year. By comparison, 39 percent of people who switched plans said they were paying more.

Many of these people had been in plans that were canceled last fall because the plans did not meet the law’s new insurance standards.

The wave of cancellations, which contradicted President Barack Obama’s promise that people who liked their existing insurance plans could keep them, posed an early crisis for the new marketplaces.

The insurance marketplaces — a centerpiece of the law — allow Americans who do not get coverage through an employer to choose among plans in their area, all of which must meet new basic standards and cannot turn away sick customers.

Consumers making less than four times the federal poverty level — about $94,000 a year for a family of four — qualify for government subsidies in most parts of the country.

Strong enrollment this year helped mute some criticism of the marketplaces, which were launched last fall amid technology problems and cancellations. However, questions have lingered about who signed up for insurance, what happened to those who lost their previous health care plans and how consumers view their new coverage.

The Kaiser report adds to a growing body of survey data indicating that the health care law has dramatically cut the ranks of the nation’s uninsured.

A succession of Gallup polls this spring has shown a precipitous drop in the uninsured rate. Other research has picked up gains in employer-based coverage, in government Medicaid programs and in healthcare plans sold on the new marketplaces as well as directly from insurers.

The Kaiser survey suggests that many consumers found plans on the new marketplaces that they could afford.

Significant majorities of all customers on the new marketplaces also said they were satisfied with the choice of hospitals and primary-care doctors.

Overall, seven in 10 people who got marketplace plans rated their coverage as excellent or good, according to the survey. A majority, 55 percent, said the plan was an excellent or good value for what they paid.

Those figures come close to the levels of satisfaction that Americans with employer-provided coverage report, though people who get coverage through an employer remain the most satisfied with their insurance.

The vast majority of consumers who bought marketplace plans are receiving government subsidies to help offset the cost of their premiums, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Comments

unclejoe

Good to see the government focus is finally on those who need the most help and away from those who profess to be self-reliant contributors. "Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs" sayeth Uncle Joe, so we don't have to worry about the needy stepping up to contribute anytime soon. More given, more demanded.
Time for a good old fashioned general strike; every working man and woman take the day off on Monday, June 30th, 2014.

Tri-cities realist

Will it only be one day, or should we go on permanent strike like the leaches?

willa

I wonder if the people or their family members who complain about this program have ever found themselves in a situation needing assistance. -Health care, food assistance, housing assistance, gas cards, tuition assistance, veterans assistance, the list is endless. Unless you and your family is completely self-sufficient and will never require assistance, I suggest you give your support to your fellow human beings in regards to health care. My insurance went up a little this year, but I am happy to chip in and insure that others can participate in preventive health care and be treated when ill. Not everyone who needs help is a worthless dead beat. There are other programs that I don't agree with that are supported by dollars taken from my paycheck. But, health care is a pretty important and valid expense. We need to acknowledge that we all need a little help now and then. The U.S. is still the best place to live and grow. A little kindness and support can go a long way. Again, unless you never have or never will need help from others, keep your attention-seeking negative comments to yourself!

Vladtheimp

The lack of critical thinking here is amazing.

The Obama Administration has refused to divulge to Congress or to the public the very facts that are necessary to reach an informed decision regarding the success to date of Obamacare:

How many people signed up for Insurance?
How many people signed up for free Medicaid?
Of those who signed up for insurance, how many received a taxpayer subsidy without proof of eligibility and what were the amounts of the subsidies?
How many of those with subsidies have been determined to be ineligible for subsidies to date, and when will the Administration complete its review of all subsidy eligibilities?
Of those who signed up for insurance AND had to pay something for their insurance, how many have paid in a timely fashion, how many are late in paying, and how many have failed to pay?
Of those who signed up for Insurance, how many had insurance prior to Obamacare?
What are the ages of those who signed up for insurance, and do they reflect the numbers needed for Obamacare to be sustainable?
How much have insurance rates changed, by state, and have the rates risen or fallen?
How much does the Administration plan to pay insurers for losses they have experienced, as provided in Obamacare?

Without this critical information, all so-called "facts" about Obamacare are just guesses, and it appears that Obama is pleased to keep all this information secret, or to not even collect it. Notwithstanding the new justifications Obamabots are pronouncing for its passage, the underlying reason Obamacare was passed was to solve the "crisis" of the 46 million people without health insurance. Thus, a headline that "Nearly 4.5M had no health insurance" is not only a guess, but actually means that 3.5 million HAD INSURANCE before Obamacare, and presumably lost it as a result of the legislation. The latest CBO estimate is that 31.5 million people will be uninsured in 2024 after spending $2 Trillion and upsetting the entire American health care system, a far cry from the Obama promise to insure the 46 million uninsured.

And don't forget, aside from all the disruptions and increases in costs, Obama achieved the numbers he has by giving taxpayer subsidies to families making as much as $94,000.

Show us the numbers, Mr. Obama, or have they disappeared with all of the IRS e-mails?

Lanivan

Your questions and plaintive pleas for help in the way of information drove me to do some research, and I submit the following, of which my goal is to help ameliorate your apparent distress and confusion.

Since Obamacare Passed 50 Months Ago, Healthcare Has Gained Almost 1 Million Jobs...http://www.forbes.com/sites/dand...

Paul Krugman sends us to the Gallup poll on the percentage of uninsured Americans. The poll, based on more than 30,000 interviews in April and May, showed that the uninsured rate dropped 3.7 percentage points for all adults from the 4th quarter of 2013 to April-May 2014 (see graph below). It dropped 6.2 percentage points for African-Americans and 6.0 points for those with an income below $36,000. Daily Kos/Forbes Dan Diamond.

ACA signups - great graph: http://acasignups.net/graph

Vladtheimp

But none of the critical questions answered, not information provided by the Obama Administration. Your snazzy graph was made up by a local web designer with no known expertise in anything but web design - and where did he get his statistics - he provides no sources.

Show us the numbers, Mr. Obama, or have they disappeared with all of the IRS e-mails?

Lanivan

I happen to like acasignups.net, and refer to it often. I think Charles (brainwrap) is quite unbiased and from what I can determine, is pretty accurate with his statistics. I think what I especially like is that he is actually not a supporter of Obama, seeing him as governing as a moderate Republican along the lines of George H.W. Bush, which, of course, is why I like Obama and tend to agree with his decisions and appreciate his decision-making style.

I did consider choosing whitehouse.gov for answers to your questions, but then rejected it when images of another lawless liar comment appeared in my peripheral vision..

Vladtheimp

WTFO?

Where did brainless get his statistics and what makes him competent to determine their validity?

When did brainless start governing - I thought he was a web designer... what decisions and decision making style of brainless do you agree with? (Sunday early dipping of beak in Malbec?)

Lanivan

No, no! I meant Obama, not brainwave! Malbec might be your excuse, but, sadly, it is not mine. Besides, it might surprise you that I am capable of both sipping a glass of Malbec and retaining my common sense, rationality, and good humor without resorting to WTFO's. If you don't like the site or the graph, fine, have it your way and keep asking questions as if you don't know the answers.

Vladtheimp

Where did he get his statistics from? Where are the government statistics?

Show us the numbers, Mr. Obama, or have they disappeared with all of the IRS e-mails?

Lanivan

Speaking of emails, it's a shame Darrell Issa and the other investigators aren't able to use the 750,000 pages of documents, including 67,000 emails, to gather evidence that the IRS was exclusively targeting only Tea Party right wing groups applying for tax-free status in 2010. Can you imagine? - 750,000 pages of documents and not one trace of evidence? It must be in those missing emails!!

Remember the 22 million emails from 2003-2005 the Bush White House lost, never to be retrieved, during the investigation into the Plame affair? Darrell Issa brushed it off at the time as a software problem, but really, this IRS thing is way different.

Vladtheimp

No, I don't remember that, but at least a Special Prosecutor was involved - I'm sure you agree, given your comparison between the two events, that a Special Prosecutor should investigate the IRS targeting of Americans based on their political views; the assertion of Fifth Amendment privileges by a leading player in the scandal, and the slow-walking by the Executive Branch of a valid subpoena.

If you overwhelm the moving party to a subpoena with tons of documents, but hide the relevant ones, do you think that complies with the rule of law?

Lanivan

Well, yes - it's true. The Bush White House lost 22 MILLION emails in the years 2003-2005 - critical years under which the White House was contending with regular subpoenas over the outing of Valerie Plame. The White House failed to install a properly working electronic system to preserve records, a legal obligation. But rest assured, most of the emails have been recently retrieved, thanks to legal pressure, and will be revealed sometime in the future.

The one-year IRS investigation has revealed no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing from the White House. 3/4 of a million documents, and NO proof. But Darrell Issa uses this lack of evidence as "proof" that wrongdoing must be hidden.

What the investigation has uncovered is the fact that in 2010, there were a great preponderance of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, so with so many of these types of groups, naturally, statistically-speaking, there would be more applications being reviewed. It also showed that groups with words such as "progressive" in their names were also being reviewed. Targeting certain words in a title was a quick way of identifying groups too political to be public interest organizations under the law.

The investigation has shown that NO right wing groups were denied tax exempt status.

As for Lois Lerner, the special investigator could have just as easily guaranteed immunity for her testimony, but refused to do so. This whole circus could have been avoided, but that's not really the idea. The Republicans want this to be high drama, a witch hunt, a conspiracy theory for as long as possible - all on the taxpayers dime, of course.

Tri-cities realist

Great graph? Perhaps if you like it's pretty colors. But if you are looking for actual data it is lacking. Count the number of "estimates" and "approximates". It is about as accurate as a weather forecast, if that.

Lanivan

Really? You, who consistently denies facts, figures, statistics, and raw data if it doesn't conform to your beliefs complains because the graph honestly points out where the numbers might not be exact, but close as determined by data available so far?

The numbers are slowly coming in and being tabulated throughout the various states, those with the expansion and those without, those showing the number of privately insured, uninsured, employee-insured, and marketplace-insured. If anything, the numbers provided on the graph are minimums. Essentially, the data gathered by all sources is showing that Obamacare is working. I think that's what bothers you and Vlad the most.

Tri-cities realist

If by "working" you mean getting the tentacles of govt into 1/6 of the economy, while mandating citizens purchase something, then yes that bothers me, and Vlad too I suspect. But I don't need to speak for him.

As for the data, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if these are minimums.

And I don't recall denying facts, figures, and data when they are accurate, but if I'm wrong I suppose you'll be able to show me when I have erred.

Lanivan

One instance that comes to mind is the record of Reagan's record of governance. But we both have accused each other of this very common aspect of human nature. I will no longer point out your errors or oversights - I think you have the ability to self-reflect and discover this on your own. And I will be doing the same on my end. Happy reflecting! (( ))

skyking007

I wonder how the people who are against helping other people get health insurance sleep at night? Plain evil, wanting other people to die because it might cost them something.

unclejoe

Got to draw the line somewhere, Sky. Do we provide health care to all when that money could be used to feed the truly starving in other parts of the world?
We don't have the wisdom of Soloman; forefathers knew this and purposefully limited the power of the few at the top.
With the citizens money in the governments hand, so goes the power to dictate right and wrong as seen by them. Your money, Sky, left in your hands puts the power and responsibility on you as you deem appropriate to help who you think deserves the fruits of your labor.

Lanivan

In addition to government helping US citizens, particularly the sick and poor among us, I am not aware of anything stopping you to additionally help those less fortunate in a myriad of ways - through contributions of time, energy, or money.

But you bring up a good point. The Iraqi and Afghan wars were a tremendous drain on this country, on our military, the VA, the federal debt, and, ultimately, were a main contributor to the severe recession that impacted so dramatically the already stressed middle class and working poor, creating a need for more government assistance. And this all on the dime of hardworking taxpayers such as you and me. Suffice it to say I am not pleased to see my honestly earned and filed taxes going to such a wasteful, unproductive, and destructive activity.

Same goes for the 16-day government shut-down last October, aggressively pushed by right wingers, that cost the country $24 billion+, and from which not one iota of positive or productive benefit was derived. And my taxes pay for the most generous salaries/benefits/perks of these government workers who hate government, spent millions to get to work for the government, want to kill it, and spend most of their time thinking of ways to benefit their corporate benefactors who control them, rather than what would benefit the lives of honest Americans.

Vladtheimp

I thought you and Obama have argued that Afghanistan was the war we needed to fight, to wipe out the terrorists who attacked us and killed more Americans than have ever been killed on American soil in history. I recall you arguing that Bush diverted necessary attention to Afghanistan by fighting in Iraq. President Obama said:

"To address these important issues, it's important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of passengers onboard one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more." http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/f...

And who can forget http://youtu.be/N5p-qIq32m8

So now you are saying your necessary war was "a tremendous drain on this country, on our military, the VA, the federal debt, and, ultimately, was a main contributor to the severe recession that impacted so dramatically the already stressed middle class and working poor, creating a need for more government assistance. And this all on the dime of hardworking taxpayers such as you and me." So solly, can't have it both ways.

Although the 16 day shutdown did not cost the country $24 billion, if that's the figure you want to use it's fine with me because it was Harry Reid that refused to vote on the House budget proposals that resulted in the shutdown.

Lanivan

What the US should have done is hunt Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants down to the ends of the earth, if necessary, fully utilizing our brilliant Special Forces, and brought him back to the US to be tried as a criminal. But then Cheney's Halliburton wouldn't have made $39.5 billion from the wars, the Bush Family was friendly with the bin Laden Family, and besides, as Bush said in a March 13, 2002 press conference,

"Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban."

But once we had invested in Afghanistan and partially diffused the Taliban, Obama had no real choice in making one final, valiant attempt to train, organize, protect, and educate Afghanis. Think it will work?

Saddam Hussein, appointed into power by the US, went rogue and ruthlessly ruled Iraq through violence and torture, and both Repubs and Dems were correct to be concerned about WMD, but without actual proof, the US should never have unilaterally invaded the country, killing him and his sons, and - then what?

It was the globbing on of the repeal and/or delay of Obamacare onto the appropriations continuing bill (not just once but twice) that recklessly, irresponsibly, and with sickeningly misplaced hubris and defiance resulted in the shutdown. It was the culmination of months of right wing strategic planning, with the end game being they would "win" at any cost to the country. Perhaps you could actually take a minute and defend their actions, and provide something good, productive, and positive that came from it.

Vladtheimp

I see:

Saddam Hussein was the fault of the United States, and

You never responded to the issues I raised about your new charges about Afghanistan versus your former stance. Solly, obfuscation won't work here - try another forum.

Lanivan

WT-O? My stance hasn't wavered one iota. And yes - if you want to take the stand that Hussein was the fault of the US, I suppose you would have a case. Both he and Osama bin Laden were put in positions of power, given arms and treasure by the US to do the bidding of the US (as well as many other Middle East dictators and leaders), went rogue, and turned on their benefactors when it became expedient to do so or lose that power they had become accustomed to.

skyking007

Be honest Joe. Republicans would not spend the money feeding people in other parts of the world. they would use it to bomb them. Republicans gripe about any money not spent on war.

Vladtheimp

George W. Bush has saved more lives than any American president http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2...

Bush a Fond Presence in Africa for Work During and Since His Presidency http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/0...

Lanivan

And then there is this: "And yet no good turn goes unpunished. PEPFAR has also come in for criticism due to certain stipulations imposed on the program by conservative members of the U.S. Congress, who have pressured its administrators to promote abstinence and exclude prostitutes from treatment."

By the way, I read this and thought of you, especially the opening four paragraphs: http://www.nationaljournal.com/m...

Vladtheimp

Trust me - no one ever went to the trouble of preparing for and taking the bar exam and subconsciously didn't want to pass it. The article doesn't make it clear, but it wasn't just D.C. that switched exams - most states adopted it and it definitely made the bar exams more difficult, but it should not have made it more difficult for students graduating from a national law school like Yale, or Georgetown for that matter, rather than a local law school that focused on preparing students for the practice of law in an individual state.

Lanivan

Thanks for the reply. I suppose Hillary was trying to justify or explain the Arkansas connection, but my main thought in posting the link was the sentimental value of the discussion of bar review classes in the DC area in the general time frame that would pertain to your experience, the classes of Nacrelli/Cohn - perhaps you took?, - and especially the cost....$150. Probably a couple thousand now....

Vladtheimp

I never had Professor Cohn - I don't think he taught first year students and never taught night school which was my residence after first year.

I still vividly recall being royally pis*ed about having to pay for a bar review course after years of paying a law school, but finally accepted the reality. I took BAR/BRI rather than Nacrelli, not because I thought it was better but in my recollection it was slightly cheaper. I understand BAR/BRI now costs north of $3,000.

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