Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Most Americans Satisfied with Marketplace Coverage, Survey Shows

By Erin Mershon, CQ Roll Call

May 25, 2016 -- Two-thirds of Americans getting their coverage through and the state exchanges consider their coverage good, very good, or excellent, according to a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund. That number is even higher for new Medicaid enrollees: 77 percent reported positive experiences.

The survey results highlight the gains in coverage and access to care made since the passage of the 2010 federal health overhaul. The poll follows another recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation that showed similar rates of satisfaction with coverage, though it noted consumers are less satisfied with the affordability of their insurance.

The Commonwealth Fund reports that most consumers are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied. About 77 percent of Marketplace enrollees and 88 percent of new Medicaid patients gave those answers. Most are using their coverage: 72 percent of the newly insured said they used their coverage to go to a provider or to fill a prescription.

More than 60 percent of those people said they wouldn't have been able to afford that care previously. Low-income Americans were more likely to say they would not have been able to afford care before their new coverage, but 48 percent of those who had coverage before the health law passed also said they couldn't have afforded it before.

"These findings show that the Affordable Care Act is working as it was designed to, specifically to get people the health care that they need," said David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund.

But he added that there is "room for improvement."

"A minority people are not satisfied with their coverage and said their ability to get care got worse," he said. "Moving forward, it will be important to continue to monitor the law's effects, and make adjustments to fill any remaining gaps."

The study also shed light on a looming challenge in exchanges: enrollment. It found the uninsured rate remained around 12.7 percent, slightly higher than recent administration estimates. That figure doesn't represent a statistically significant difference from the uninsured rate of 13.3 percent in a comparable period the year prior--a sign there is more work to be done to sign up the uninsured. Many experts say convincing Americans who are still uninsured to sign up for coverage is essential to the sustainability of the marketplaces.

The study's researchers also highlighted details about churn between the marketplaces, employer-sponsored coverage and Medicaid, noting that the law seemed to fill gaps for those who had lost jobs or coverage from their employers. While most marketplace enrollees lacked any insurance before the health law, 34 percent said they previously had employer coverage. About 7 percent had bounced from the exchanges to employer coverage back to the exchanges, while 11 percent shifted from Medicaid.

The survey also found that doctor availability and wait times for the newly insured were comparable to those for insured Americans overall.

Publication Details