Consumers brace for higher costs, blame PPACA

By BenefitsPro

By Kathryn Mayer

Forget the promise of lower costs. Most Americans think Obamacare is — or at least will be — driving up their health care costs.

A poll released Tuesday by the Morning Consult found that 60 percent believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will likely increase their health care costs in the long run. Another 28 said their costs would likely remain unchanged, and 11 said they believed their costs will decrease.

That fear is consistent with a recent eHealth analysis, which found that health insurance on the individual market is much more expensive under PPACA.

Last month, eHealth said that the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month, as of Feb. 24. That’s a 39 percent increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.

The Morning Consult poll also found that most don’t hold out hope for quality care: Americans say the law will tend to make coverage lower quality and less available. Only 23 percent said PPACA would have a positive impact on the quality and availability of their coverage, while 37 percent said it would have a negative impact. Forty percent said their coverage would likely remain about the same.

Meanwhile, 40 percent said they think the law will get worse over the next year, 24 percent of voters anticipate it will get better and 36 percent think it will stay about the same.

The new poll results continue to show a struggle for PPACA, which just celebrated its fourth anniversary this week. Results also are important as the law’s big deadline for open enrollment approaches Monday.

Overall, the poll found that 41 percent approve of PPACA, down from 45 percent last month, while 53 percent said they disapprove. That approval/disapproval rating is the same as reported in a poll by the Pew Research Center last week.

Both polls also found that, though most Americans aren’t optimistic about the law, the public doesn’t want the law to be delayed or repealed. Though 34 percent did say PPACA should be repealed, defunded or delayed, 62 percent said the law should take effect as is, or it should be improved or expanded.

The March tracking poll by the Morning Consult was conducted from March 9-11, among a national sample of 2,192 likely voters.

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