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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Top 3 Consumer Worries About 2015 Open Enrollment

With open enrollment 2015 for individual health insurance coming up in November, employees and clients are worried about the cost of health insurance, the number of uninsured, and Marketplace glitches. This is according to a new survey by Bankrate.com.

According to the Bankrate.com survey, which polled just over 1,000 American adults, the top three consumer worries about the upcoming open enrollment are 1) the predicted higher prices for health insurance plans, 2) the amount of uninsured individuals, and 3) the glitches with the health insurance Marketplaces.consumerworries-1

Chart Source: Bankrate.com

1. Higher Prices for Health Insurance Plans

The top concern about open enrollment 2015 is that there will be much higher prices for individual health insurance.

  • 66 percent of pollees who identified themselves as Republicans are expecting higher rates for health insurance

  • 27 percent of pollees who identified themselves as Democrats are expecting higher rates for health insurance

  • 50 percent of pollees who identified themselves as independent are expecting higher rates for health insurance

The cost concern is a valid worry, as the rates are still coming out for 2015. According to preliminary reports, average rate increases and decreases will vary largely by state.

In 2014, however, Marketplace plans cost up to 60% less than employer health insurance. In addition, with the premium tax credits the average Marketplace plan cost $82/month.

While Marketplace plans are likely to see a marginal rate increase in 2015, the rates will still be more competitive than employer health insurance rates; even before the application of the premium tax credits.

2. The Amount of Uninsured Individuals

According to Bankrate, the second largest concern with open enrollment 2015 is that there are too many people remaining uninsured. This was a concern for 29 percent of pollees.

This concern is surprising, since the uninsured rate in the U.S. fell 2.2 percentage points to 13.4 percent in the second quarter of 2014. This is the lowest quarterly average recorded since 2008, according to a recent Gallup poll of over 45,000 Americans.

In fact, according to KFF, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) motivated many non-group enrollees to get coverage, with nearly six in ten (57%) Marketplace enrollees previously uninsured. Although there are still 30 million uninsured Americans, the Marketplace is making it easier and less costly for individuals to obtain health insurance.

3. Glitches with the Marketplaces

Since the Marketplaces experienced some technical difficulties last year, there were varied responses when the survey asked participants whether they thought open enrollment would run more smoothly the second time around.

  • 56 percent of pollees felt little or no confidence in a smooth running open enrollment

  • 39 percent of pollees were somewhat or very confident in a smooth running open enrollment

confidence_in_the_marketplaceChart Source: Bankrate.com

Read the Bankrate.com survey analysis here.

Do you have any questions or concerns about open enrollment 2015? Leave a comment here.