Amid the discussions of number of people who enrolled or didn’t enroll during the first open enrollment period, I remained curious about why some people enrolled and others did not. Helpfully, the organization Enroll America (EA), did a study on that http://www.enrollamerica.org/resources/public-education/why-did-some-people-enroll-and-not-others/
Some of EA’s findings seem obvious:
“There was a high demand for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period. Those who enrolled were willing to put time and effort into the process.”
“Those who enrolled had more information. For example, the newly enrolled were more than twice as likely to know about the availability of financial help to low and moderate-income people as those who did not enroll (56% vs. 26%).”
Others are instructive. For example: “As many as 40% indicate they might not have enrolled without the mandate… Young adults were more motivated by the fine than others.” Many have suggested the mandate is not really important relative to the basic desire for insurance. I think this indicates that people generally agree with the mandate and want to support it.
Still other findings of the EA study are encouraging:
“Three-quarters (74%) of the newly enrolled feel confident they can afford their premiums.”
“Healthy people enrolled. The self-reported health status of those who enrolled and those who did not was similar.”
“Most of those who did not enroll (61%) wanted coverage.”
“The top reason why some people did not even look for coverage was the perception that they could not afford insurance.”
Health insurance premiums—though higher than any of us think they should be— turned out to be affordable for the people who did sign up. In some cases, the affordability included program subsidies. But people are getting insured. And that, after all, is the primary goal of the Affordable Care Act.