Cost plays major role in enrollment decisions


About half of uninsured Americans who did not enroll in a healthcare reform plan blamed high costs, according to a recent Enroll America survey. The online survey found 48 percent of the 853 uninsured participants said they did not sign up because they couldn't afford it.

Among those surveyed from April 10 to 28, other factors, such as low-levels of health literacy and technical challenges led people to decide against enrolling in an exchange plan, according to the survey announcement.

Price continues to be a main concern for customers shopping for insurance in the individual marketplace. Many Americans pick the cheapest plans, which makes experts question whether people truly understand how health insurance works and the payment risks they assume by choosing low-end products, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Only 21 percent of survey participants who remain uninsured knew a tax subsidy was available to most low-income people, while 38 percent of the 671 newly enrolled individuals knew this information, notes Enroll America.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released at the end of last month had similar findings: "What's out there now is just unaffordable," a respondent said.  "Being a single mom, every penny I have goes into my house and I have nothing extra," another commented.

For the 84 percent of uninsured survey respondents who seem open to looking for coverage, Enroll America recommends a few key steps to improve the next enrollment period:

1. Recognize most uninsured individuals want affordable coverage. Sixty-one percent of respondents polled said they wanted coverage but they could not find anything.

2. Address affordability perceptions. Continue to raise awareness regarding tax subsidies and other financial help to low- and moderate-income individuals to break affordability perception barriers.

3. Improve health literacy. Less than half of those polled understood industry jargon such as "premium" and "open enrollment." Educating the public can lead to higher levels of enrollment.

For more:
- here's the Enroll America survey (.pdf)
- read the announcement
- here are Enroll America's recommendations

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