Poll: 7 percent say health exchanges rollout has gone extremely well, very well

1 in 10 who've tested system succeed in buying insurance

By Nancy Benac

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10 2013 11:43 a.m. MDT

She added, "The overwhelming attention from millions of Americans checking out HealthCare.gov during the first few days is a good testament to the interest of Americans in new affordable health options."

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that about 7 million uninsured people will gain coverage through the online insurance marketplaces next year, but the role of the markets is actually much bigger than that.

They were intended to be a 21st century portal to coverage for people who do not have access to health insurance on the job. And that includes insured people as well as the uninsured.

There are three big groups of potential customers for the markets: uninsured middle-class people who now will be able to get government-subsidized private coverage; people who currently purchase their own individual policies and are looking for better deals; and low-income people who will be steered by the marketplace to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that agree to expand that safety net program.

The Census Bureau has estimated that about 48 million Americans lacked coverage in 2012, or more than 15 percent of the population.

Starting next year, the law requires virtually all Americans to have insurance or face a tax penalty after a coverage gap of three months.

Opinions are sharply divided on the overall framework of the law: 28 percent of Americans support it, 38 percent are opposed, and 32 percent don't have an opinion either way, the poll found. When asked specifically whether the government should be able to require all Americans to buy insurance or face a fine, only about 3 in 10 Americans agreed, and 68 percent were opposed.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7 using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel. It involved online interviews with 1,227 adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents. For results among the 76 respondents who attempted to use health insurance markets, the margin of error is plus or minus 13.5 percentage points.

Associated Press writers Andrew Miga and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report. Follow Benac and Agiesta on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nbenac and http://twitter.com/JennAgiesta

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