Majority Of Seniors Think Affordable Care Act Not So Affordable
New Survey Released By The Senior Citizens League
Alexandria, VA: A large majority of seniors think that the costs of new health plans under the Affordable Care Act, better known, as “Obamacare,” are not so affordable according, to a new survey released today by The Seniors Citizens League (TSCL). “The findings clearly indicate that senior Americans don’t believe the new health law fulfills the promise of providing affordable care,” says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates. “High healthcare costs remain a major issue with older Americans and younger seniors close to retirement age,” Cates says.
The survey was conducted online during the new health law’s January through March Open Enrollment period. It was open to all seniors, including those age 65 and over and covered by Medicare.
Eleven percent of TSCL’s 2,209 survey participants were uninsured seniors, younger than age 65 in 2014, and thus required to purchase health insurance by the new healthcare law. Three percent were previously insured seniors who said they were able to temporarily renew their 2013 health plans through most of 2014. Of those who shopped for a new health plan, only 14 percent reported successfully enrolling in a new health plan using the Healthcare.gov web site. Forty percent said they had not done anything.
The responses indicate that few seniors have a positive perception of health plan costs, and that there is widespread confusion among seniors about Obamacare. Fifty-six percent of respondents did not know whether they would qualify for a premium subsidy to lower the costs of their premiums. (The majority of those taking the survey would not, since Obamacare does not affect seniors age 65 and over who have Medicare or Medicaid for their health insurance.)
Other major findings include the following:
- Only 17 percent thought that there was a good selection of health plans. Forty-two percent thought there wasn’t.
- Only 18 percent thought premiums were affordable with subsidies. Forty-three percent thought premiums were unaffordable, even with subsides, and 40 percent didn’t know.
- A majority, 50 percent, agreed that plan deductibles and out-of-pocket costs were too high to provide good coverage. Only 14 percent disagreed, and 36 percent didn’t know.
Although health plans can no longer exclude people due to pre-existing health conditions under the new health law, older enrollees pay the highest premiums. Health insurers are submitting their premiums for 2015 and some states are starting to disclose proposed premium rate increases. “We have already seen some early reports of proposed premium increases,” Cates observes. “Given that the majority of respondents to our survey believe that new health plan costs are already unaffordable, premium increases of even 8 percent or higher could put the new plans out of reach, or place big new financial burdens on senior households,” he adds.
TSCL is urging seniors to get involved this election year and let incumbent Members of Congress know what they think about their healthcare costs under the new health plans, and under Medicare. To learn more or participate in polls, visit TSCL’s website at www.SeniorsLeague.org.
With about 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of TREA The Enlisted Association. Please visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.
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