Public Opinion on the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Findings From the 2011 Health Confidence Survey
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
EBRI Notes, Vol. 32, No. 11, November 2011
This paper examines public opinion surrounding the future of employment-based health coverage. Data come from the EBRI/MGA 2011 Health Confidence Survey (HCS), a survey that examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including Americans’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the future of the health care system and the Medicare program, and their attitudes toward health care reform. Enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 has raised many questions about whether employers will continue to offer health coverage in the future. In 2014, state-based health insurance exchanges will be available to individuals without employment-based coverage. These exchanges change the playing field in that workers will no longer need to rely on their employer to obtain health coverage. Workers will benefit from a number of insurance market reforms, such as guaranteed issue, modified community rating, subsidies, and increased choice of health plan. Over the long-term, public confidence that employers and unions will continue to offer health coverage has fallen. In 2011, 57 percent of individuals with employment-based coverage were extremely or very confident that their employer or union would continue to offer health coverage, down from 68 percent in 2000. Most of the erosion in confidence occurred between 2000 and 2002. Individuals have a low level of confidence that they can afford to purchase health coverage on their own even if their employer or union gave them the money to do so. In 2011, 20 percent were extremely or very confident that they could afford to purchase coverage; 30 percent were somewhat confident; and 48 percent were not too or not at all confident. According to the 2011 HCS, individual confidence in one’s ability to compare different plan options and choose the best plan is neither high nor low. When it comes to confidence levels in an objective rating system being able to help an individual choose the best available plan, again, most people are somewhere in the middle. The vast majority of the population, 62 percent, reported that they were not at all familiar with health insurance exchanges, a key provision in the health reform law of 2010 (PPACA). However, the public does have opinions about the oversight of them: A majority of the population is not confident in the ability of the federal or state governments to run the exchanges, and 42 percent are not confident in private insurers’ ability to run them.
The PDF for the above title, published in the November 2011 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the fulltext of another November 2011 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: “How Do Financial Literacy and Financial Behavior Vary by State?”
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Employment-based benefits, Health care attitudes and opinions, Health care policy, Health care reform, Health insurance attitudes and opinions
JEL Classification: I1, I10, I18, J32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 17, 2011
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