Gallup: Majority Of Uninsured Say They’ll Get Insurance


PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) — A Gallup poll indicted 55 percent of uninsured Americans said they’d buy insurance rather than pay a fine, but views of the healthcare policy remain negative.

The Gallup survey was released Friday, a day after another study indicated the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, wasn’t achieving its primary goal of extending coverage to the uninsured. The McKinsey & Co. consulting firm’s study indicated 27 percent of people who have selected a healthcare plan on the new exchanges were previously uninsured.

The Barack Obama Administration said 4 million people have selected a plan since the exchanges launched Oct. 1, but hasn’t indicated how many of them moved from another insurance plan.

In its survey, Gallup said the pool of uninsured Americans keeps changing, and has decreased as a percentage of the adult population since the beginning of 2014. Information is based on the Princeton, N.J., polling agency’s ongoing tracking of uninsured Americans’ attitudes toward and experiences with the Affordable Care Act.

More than half of the uninsured who plan to get insurance said they would use an exchange, but uninsured Americans who have visited an exchange still are about twice as likely to rate their experience negatively as positively, Gallup said.

Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,507 adults who don’t have health insurance conducted Feb. 1-28. The margin of error for the total sample is 3 percentage points.

During a healthcare industry conference Thursday, Gary Cohen, a top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said whether people signing up for insurance on an exchange had insurance previously isn’t something the Administration can track, the National Journal reported.

“That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way,” Cohen said.

A CMS official told the Washington publication The Hill that the agency hopes to be able to report that information in the future.

“We are a looking at a range of data sources to determine how many marketplace enrollees previously had coverage,” the official said. “The marketplace application asks applicants only if they are looking to apply for coverage, not whether the consumer currently has coverage. Previous insurance coverage is an important metric, and we hope to have additional information in the future.”

The McKinsey & Co. survey indicated more than 75 percent of those who selected a plan also paid their premiums, which is line with other studies.

McKinsey’s February survey indicated the previously uninsured made up 11 percent of enrollees and 48 percent of those who had selected a plan made a premium payment.

The most common reason cited for not enrolling by those who were previously insured and previously uninsured was the perceived affordability challenges, cited by about 50 percent of respondents who hadn’t enrolled in a plan yet, the McKinsey survey indicated.

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