Health Reform WK-EDGE What do working-age adults think of their health care coverage?
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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

What do working-age adults think of their health care coverage?

By Cathleen Calhoun, J.D.

A new survey sets out to determine, before the 2020 election, what working-age adults think of both their current health care coverage and new proposals.

The Commonwealth Fund issued a new "Health Insurance in America Survey" that it conducted to find information on what working-age adults think of their health insurance, and their views of current health policy proposals. The survey determined the percentage who favor eliminating all private health insurance and making public insurance like Medicare the only coverage option, the percentage who were very satisfied with their current coverage, and how affordability has been a factor in purchasing health care insurance coverage. The rate of uninsured adults was also included in the survey—the rate remains markedly below pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) levels, but coverage gains have slowed.

Survey. The survey took place from March 19, 2019, to June 9, 2019, and consisted of 4,914 adults between the ages of 19 and 64. Questions were asked on current status (insured or uninsured), the elimination of private health insurance (with a program like Medicare remaining the only option), Medicaid expansion, satisfaction with Medicaid and current insurance, knowledge of changes in the law, and shopping for health insurance in the ACA marketplaces.

Findings. The survey found that 13.8 percent of working-age adults are uninsured. This represents a decline from 19.9 percent prior to the ACA’s coverage expansions but is the same as the 2018 rate. Other data collected from the survey noted:

  • Around 30 million people are uninsured (and an estimated 44 million are underinsured), while health care costs are growing faster than median incomes in most states.
  • 27 percent of working-age adults favor eliminating all private insurance and making public insurance the only option (40 percent said that they did not have enough information to comment).
  • 48 percent of working-age adults are "very satisfied" with their health insurance, and those with employer coverage or who are enrolled in Medicaid are the most satisfied.
  • 68 percent of adults in states that have not expanded Medicaid favor expanding eligibility for the program.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 adults are not confident in their ability to afford health care if they were to become very sick.
  • Affordability is the top reason why those who shopped for marketplace coverage did not enroll.
  • Among uninsured adults who knew the tax penalty for not having insurance was repealed, 24 percent did not get health insurance because of the repeal.

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