The fourth open enrollment period is to start in November, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at a crossroads, when its success is taken into consideration. It seems that the ACA is falling short of many of the original projections, even though the rule has been successful at expanding access to health insurance for many individuals who were previously uninsured and preventing millions of individuals from being denied of coverage due to some preexisting condition.
Statistics show that enrollment figures are well below original and revised projections. This is particularly true for the young and healthy group of individuals and health plans have become much more expensive than what was expected. This is in large due to the failure of exchanges to attract young and healthy people. In addition, health plan competition is lacking in many markets, as many health plans announce their exits from market with high costs.
Many notable reports support these general observations. Recently, the Census Bureau released a report on the increased insurance coverage rate between the years 2014 and 2015. The report says that the number of uninsured has decreased from thirty three million in 2014 to twenty nine million in 2015.
The Obama Administration claimed that this number could go further if states that have not yet expanded to Medicare choose to do so. As per the report, majority of the increase in coverage is accountable to the individual exchanges than the employer sponsored insurance coverage.
A recent GAO report further found that enrollees who got covered via health insurance exchanges were more satisfied with their plans. GAO also cited three national surveys that showed overall satisfaction rate of sixty-five percent. This rate, however, is lower than that of individuals who get their insurance coverage by other means. The result shows that those who were previously uninsured report the highest levels of satisfaction.
Even though the overall satisfaction is slightly high, GAO identified some other key concerns. The agency said that about half of the enrollees were not so confident about their capacity to get affordable care, and many of them reported dissatisfaction on their choice of providers.