Report: Health Insurance Costs Rise for Many [AUDIO]
More money is coming out of Americans’ paychecks for health insurance than a year ago. That’s according to a new report by Bankrate.com which also finds that support for Obamacare is waning, even among the majority whose health coverage is provided by employers.
Experts cited by Bankrate.com say more than three quarters of those in the survey group are likely unaffected by Obamacare because they are covered by employer plans or by government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. But widely publicized problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act may be inclining them to assume their rates are directly affected.
“They’re responding to the news, and the news makes it sound as if the vast majority are affected,” said Judy Feder, professor of public policy at Georgetown University and a fellow with the Urban Institute.
Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst with Bankrate.com, said that since so much of the Obamacare conversation has focused on uninsured Americans and the government-run exchanges, it’s easy to forget most Americans, about 150 million, get their health insurance from an employer.
“I think that’s really a result of the very negative publicity over the past few months about the rollout of the exchanges and then the cancellations,” Whiteman said.
According to the report, about half, 47 percent, of Americans with employer-based health insurance say they are spending more for health insurance and 44 percent are experiencing higher out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles and co-payments, compared to a year ago.
Upper middle class Americans with employer-based health insurance, with annual household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999, are the most likely to report more money being taken from their paychecks and higher out-of-pocket expenses. Overall, respondents in this group feel the hardest hit by Obamacare.
A few months ago, Bankrate.com asked people if they had the choice whether they would repeal Obamacare or allow it to continue. At that time, results were evenly split at 46 percent on each side.
“This time, 48 percent say that they would want to repeal the law and only 38 percent would want to keep it in place,” said Whiteman. “I think that’s really a result of the very negative publicity over the past few months about the rollout of the exchanges and then the cancellations.”
However, rates and other aspects of some employer-provided plans may ultimately be affected by the Affordable Care Act, experts say.
Whiteman said, “People covered under these plans should watch for changes and discuss with their employers how Obamacare may affect their coverage and costs. In some cases, getting insurance through the health exchanges could be more cost-effective, so it is important to research all possibilities.”