Uninsured MIA in Obamacare Enrollments
March 7, 2014 - 11:49 am
A study conducted by McKinsey & Co. reveals that only one in ten of new Obamacare enrollees in February were previously without insurance.
The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal, according to a pair of new surveys.
Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new marketplaces enrolled as of last month, one of the surveys shows. The other found that about half of uninsured adults have looked for information on the online exchanges or planned to look.
The snapshots from the surveys released Thursday provide preliminary answers to what has been one of the biggest mysteries since HealthCare.gov and separate state marketplaces opened last fall: Are they attracting their prime audience?
Their “prime audience” being the reason the law was supposedly passed in the first place; covering the uninsured. And what of the uninsured who do enroll in a plan? How many have paid their first month’s premium?
The survey also attempted to measure what has been another fuzzy matter: how many actually have the insurance for which they signed up. Under federal rules, coverage begins only if someone has started to pay their monthly insurance premiums. Just over half of uninsured people said they had started to pay, compared with nearly nine in 10 of those signing up on the exchanges who said they were simply switching from one health plan to another.
One might expect the uninsured to begin to enroll in greater numbers when they can tear themselves away from their iphones and X-Boxes and discover there’s such a thing as Obamacare. From the McKinsey report:
The most common reason for not enrolling cited by both previously insured and previously uninsured respondents continues to be perceived affordability challenges (this was cited by ~50 percent of the respondents who had not yet enrolled).
Over 80 percent of the respondents who cited affordability as the reason for not enrolling are eligible for subsidies; 66 percent of these consumers were not aware of their subsidy eligibility status or subsidy amount.
You know these people are dense when there’s all that free money sitting out there and they don’t even know they’re eligible to get it.
There is no doubt that there are millions of people who don’t have insurance. What these figures prove is that there are millions of people who don’t want insurance — even though in most cases it would be in their interest to purchase some. But we live in an age when the government tells us what is in our best interest and forces us to act. It’s a radical form of communitarianism that subsumes the individual notion of responsibility and substitutes collective control — a forced altruism that punishes a citizen who refuses to act for the greater good.
And health insurance may be only the beginning.