Obamacare Isn't Worth It to 72% of Americans

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Seven out of ten Americans believe the Affordable Care Act has not made a positive impact yet, a Bankrate.com report said.

Also See: Obamacare Enrollment for Uninsured Is Low, Survey Shows

The survey found that 43% of Americans believe the Affordable Care Act has had a mostly negative impact on the country, and 21% say it hasn't made much of an impact at all. Only 28% say the ACA has had a mostly positive impact.

"These findings indicate that more than seven in ten Americans don't feel like Obamacare has been worth it," said Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman.

The negative sentiment increases with income as feelings are more evenly split among those with annual household income under $30,000.

"People's perceptions are closely related to how they are personally affected by the insurance law," he said. "People making less than $30,000 were most inclined that the law has had a positive impact. More of the poor are recognizing it is helping them."

The survey found that 53% of Americans who earn $50,0000 a year or more believe that Obamacare has mostly been bad for the country, compared to just 29% of those making less than $30,000.

Slightly more than half or 51% of rural Americans give Obamacare a thumbs-down, 46% of suburbanites are in that same "mostly negative" camp and just a third or 33% of urban dwellers feel that way.

Consumers who are uninsured or unhappy with their plan should start learning about their coverage options now rather than wait for the next open enrollment period, which starts on November 15, said Carrie McLean, director of customer care at eHealth.com, director of customer care at eHealth.com, an online health insurance exchange based in Mountain View, Calif.

Consumers can find out what they might expect to pay for coverage by researching eHealth's Health Insurance Price Index. The company's daily index shows that people shopping without government subsidies are spending 17% more for family coverage as of May 27 than they were on March 31, the last day of the nationwide open enrollment period. Over the same time, the cost of coverage selected by individuals has increased 12% to a nationwide average of $272 per month.

"We recommend that consumers work with licensed agents and get the personal advice they need to find the best match for their needs and budget," she said.

S&P Capital IQ predicted that nine in ten workers who currently receive health insurance through their employers will instead manage their own health plans on Obamacare-style government exchanges by 2020. According to Bankrate.com, 30% of Americans think this would have a negative impact and only 14% forecast a positive change. While 30% of the respondents said they dislike the idea of now having to research and shop for health insurance through an exchange compared to 14% who are in favor of it, 52% of Americans said the issue was inconsequential.

Also See: Can Obamacare Be Mended?

Since many Americans receive insurance through their employer, many people have not given the new law much thought and have not been following the news surrounding it, Whiteman said.

About one in four Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance (23%) are more likely to retire early or otherwise leave their jobs due to the ACA. That is almost three times as many as the 8%\ who are less likely to move on. People with annual household income between $50,000 and $75,000 are the most likely to quit.

Bankrate.com also found that the percentage of Americans without health insurance has fallen to 11%, the lowest since its monthly Health Insurance Pulse surveys began in August 2013.

The uninsured rate for adults in April was 13.4%, down from 15.0% in March, according to a poll conducted by Gallup and Healthways. This is the lowest monthly uninsured rate recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking it in January 2008.

The uninsured rate among lower-income Americans or those with an annual household income of less than $36,000 has declined by 5.5 percentage points, to 25.2%.

Other polls have also demonstrated that many consumers are not in favor of the new law. The April Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that despite the fact that 8 million people signed up for health insurance through the ACA's new marketplace, 46% of the public said they have an unfavorable view and 38% a favorable view. This is a slight improvement over polls taken from November through January.

--Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet

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