MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 30, 2016) - A nationwide survey by AgileHealthInsurance.com found 61 percent of adults polled support a waiver of the Obamacare uninsured penalty for residents in counties with only one Obamacare insurance company who do not qualify for subsidies or lack a health plan option that includes their preferred doctors or hospitals. A minority of respondents, 39 percent, disagreed with the prospect of a waiver and supported the retention of the penalty.
Counties with a single Obamacare insurer are a growing concern. Insurance research firm Avalere predicts one out of three regions in 2017 will face this predicament. The reduction of Obamacare plan options is due to several factors, including the collapse of various health insurance co-ops, along with the departures of UHC, Humana, Aetna and other insurers from various state exchanges.
Single-insurer markets present several challenges for consumers, including diminished price competition and inadequate health care provider network options. A 2015 government study found increased insurer competition on exchanges was associated with lower health insurance premiums. Premiums for benchmark health plans on exchanges were 9 percent lower in counties with three or more insurance companies, compared to counties with only one or two insurers.
The breadth of health care provider networks is also a concern within single-insurer markets. When a market has only one insurer and that insurer's plans are restricted to narrow networks, consumers are at increased risk that their preferred doctors and hospitals will not be covered.
"Heading into the Affordable Care Act's fourth open enrollment, consumers in many parts of the country face fewer choices and higher prices," said Sam Gibbs, executive director of AgileHealthInsurance.com. "These troubling developments beg the question whether consumers should bear the burden of penalties in locations where Obamacare choice is severely limited."
The nationwide survey of 1,164 adults asked, "In counties where there's only one Obamacare insurer left, should the uninsured penalty be waived for people without subsidies or whose preferred doctors are out-of-network?"
The full results of the study can be read in "Most Americans Want Obamacare Penalty Waived When People Have Only One Insurance Company in Their Exchange" on AgileHealthInsurance.com.
Results are based on 1,164 responses to a nationwide survey conducted from Aug. 22, 2016 to Aug. 24, 2016. The survey asked respondents, "In counties where there's only one Obamacare insurer left, should the uninsured penalty be waived for people without subsidies or whose preferred doctors are out-of-network?" Respondents had the option of selecting "No" or "Yes." The answer options were displayed in randomized order across respondents. The survey was displayed within a network of over 100 different news websites and other content sites. Demographic inferencing and methodology to acquire survey respondents who approximate national statistics on age, gender, income, and region was performed by Google-administered technology. Race, education, and health insurance status were not examined. Margin of error across survey responses is estimated at +2.8/-2.8.
AgileHealthInsurance.com was created to educate people about the benefits of term health insurance and provide a fast, online process for purchasing these plans. Term health insurance is a flexible and low-cost major medical insurance for individuals without expensive pre-existing health conditions. It is not Obamacare. Term health plans offer consumers the flexibility to choose health plans with the benefits that matter most to them and combine these benefits with broad provider networks. Additional information about AgileHealthInsurance can be found at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com.