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Survey takes a look at marketplace health insurance plans

By Maryalene LaPonsie on July 18th, 2014

With the first open enrollment period for government-mandated health insurance exchanges now a thing of the past, some may be wondering who signed up for coverage and are they happy with what they got.

To answer those questions, the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed plan members to learn more about their experiences. The non-profit discovered the health insurance marketplace seems have been a good thing for many enrollees.

Uninsured most likely to enroll

"There has been considerable debate about how many people signing up for coverage in the new exchanges were uninsured," said Drew Altman, KFF president and CEO, in a written statement. "Our survey reveals that the majority of people who enrolled in the new exchanges were previously uninsured."

In fact, nearly six in 10 of those enrolling in medical insurance through the exchanges did have health insurance coverage. Others had previous coverage through a government, group or other individual plan.

  • Uninsured: 57 percent
  • Covered by a different individual plan: 16 percent
  • Covered by an employer or COBRA: 14 percent
  • Covered by Medicaid or another public program: 9 percent

Of those who were uninsured, most say they had gone without coverage for at least two years. In addition, 72 percent say they were spurred to sign up for health insurance plans because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

More exchange enrollees say they've benefited

Overall, those enrolled in individual health insurance plans are more likely to have a favorable view of the health reform law than the general public. Among those enrolled in non-group medical insurance, 47 percent have a favorable view of the law compared to 38 percent of the general public.

What's more, those enrolled in health insurance plans through the exchanges were more likely to feel the health reform law had benefited them rather than negatively affected them. Of those surveyed, 54 percent of total exchanges enrollee said they had benefited from the PPACA while 19 percent said they were negatively affected by the law.

Among those who had switched from another individual plan to one offered on an exchange, 46 percent say their health insurance rates have gone down while 39 percent say they have gone up. In addition, 31 percent say their new plan offers the same level of coverage as their old plan while 25 percent say fewer services are covered under their new medical insurance.

The 2014 open enrollment period for government-mandated exchanges ended on March 31. The marketplaces are expected to reopen on Nov. 15 for the 2015 enrollment period.

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