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Consumers Continue To Give Exchange Plans High Marks

posted by Greg Gierer

on May 23, 2016

As health plans develop and finalize Exchange products and rate filings for the 2017 plan year, it’s important to look back and see what has been accomplished so far in terms of coverage and quality of care.

Without a doubt, there has been significant progress and success in expanding coverage—12.7 million people have selected a plan in the Exchange marketplace and 20 million Americans have gained coverage through the Exchanges, expanded Medicaid, and related coverage expansions in the Affordable Care Act. As a result, the uninsured rate has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded—with coverage rates now exceeding 90 percent, according to the latest survey.

Importantly, expanded access to coverage also has resulted in improved quality care—as evidenced by continued high rates of consumer satisfaction with their Exchange plan coverage.

The latest findings from Deloitte build on existing survey research that shows the vast majority of consumers are satisfied with their new coverage. Consumers give their coverage high marks across a broad range of plan design elements—including affordability of premiums, access to primary care doctors and specialists, co-payments and deductibles, and the ability to obtain and afford medical care and services when needed.

Deloitte found Exchange consumers are broadly satisfied with their insurance coverage at the same rate as people with employer coverage.  Moreover, 7 in 10 exchange consumers reported no financial difficulty in paying for out-of-pocket costs in the last year and large majorities (66 percent) of Exchange customers were using and benefiting from new consumer-oriented tools (such as out-of-pocket estimators) to help them make more informed decisions about their health and health care. Previous studies also have documented high rates of consumer satisfaction with Exchange coverage.

  • A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most exchange consumers are satisfied with plan’s premiums, cost-sharing and access to providers. A large majority (74 percent) rated their exchange plan coverage as excellent or good, while majorities reported satisfaction with choice of primary care doctors (75 percent), hospitals (75 percent), out-of-pocket costs for physician visits (73 percent), prescription drugs (70 percent), and monthly premiums (65 percent).
  • A study by the Commonwealth Fund found that nearly 9 in 10 (86 percent) of those newly insured under exchange plans and Medicaid are satisfied with their coverage.  Importantly, the survey found that a majority of people (65 percent) with marketplace coverage were confident they could afford the care they needed or get high-quality care.
  • A survey by J.D. Power found that consumer satisfaction with exchange plan coverage continues to increase and equals or exceeds satisfaction rates for employer-sponsored coverage.

Greg Gierer is Vice President, Policy at AHIP.