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Press Release: 2019 health plans survey shows big changes to health care in 2019 but many Americans are in the dark

Nov. 13, 2018 (Foster City, CA) -- A new survey by Insurance.com found that many people didn't realize that the individual mandate penalty is going away next year. The end of the penalty means the federal government won’t fine uninsured Americans at tax time in 2019.

An even larger percentage didn’t know about the expansion of short-term health plans in 2019. The Trump administration is making nearly all Americans eligible for short-term plans.  Short-term health plans are low-cost, but also offer limited coverage and can result in hefty out-of-pocket costs. 

“There’s so much news coming out of Washington, D.C., on a daily basis. It’s understandable why busy Americans might not know about changes coming for 2019,” said Les Masterson, managing editor at Insurance.com. “These results show that the health insurance industry has a lot of education it needs to provide consumers about the changing options.”

Five survey findings include:

  • 37 percent didn’t know that the individual mandate penalty is gone in 2019.
  • 47 percent of people who plan to give up health insurance say it’s too expensive.
  • 87 percent support pre-existing condition protections. 
  • 71 percent didn’t realize that short-term health plans are an option for most people in 2019.
  • 87 percent said elected officials should have the same coverage as people on Medicare and Medicaid. Also, 93 percent said officials would work better to fix health care problems if they had the same coverage as other Americans.

See the full story, which includes complete survey results at:  2019 health plans survey: Many Americans don't know about short-term plans, end of individual mandate

The end of the individual mandate penalty means people won’t get whacked at tax time for not having insurance. A small percentage (9 percent) said they’ll drop coverage next year since they won’t face a fine for not having insurance. 

Disagreement about Medicare for all

Medicare for all is a possible Democratic proposal down the road and almost half support the idea:

  • 49 percent back “Medicare for all,” 20 percent is against and 31 percent doesn’t know or haven’t heard about it.

Respondents disagreed about what Medicare for all plan that they support.

  • 53 percent said they back a single-payer government program, while 46 percent said they support a public option allowing anyone to get Medicare

“There’s not a broad agreement as to what Medicare for all means. The difference between a single-payer system and a public option is huge. The devil’s in the details as to whether most Americans will ultimately favor either proposal,” Masterson said. 

Interest in short-term health plans

Nearly all Americans will have the chance to get a short-term health plan next year. The only people who won’t have that option live in states that banned the low-cost, low-coverage plans. 

However, most people surveyed didn’t know about the option. 

Though more than two-thirds of respondents didn't hear about short-term plans, 45 percent said they’re at least interested in finding out more about the low-cost options. Eighteen percent said they’d change to a short-term plan if they could save 50 percent on health care costs. 

However, 45 percent said they wouldn’t switch to a short-term plan regardless of how much they’d save. 

When it comes to what they’re willing to give up, respondents disagreed on what would be deal breakers. For instance, the ACA requires health plans cover the 10 essential health benefits. Those benefits are hospitalizations, emergency, outpatient, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse, prescription drugs, lab tests, preventive care, rehabilitation and dental and vision for children.

Short-term health plans aren’t required to cover the essential health benefits. In our survey, more than half said they’d be willing to get a short-term plan that didn’t have pregnancy and newborn care coverage. Nearly half said they’d be OK forgoing mental health and substance abuse services. 

That said, almost two-thirds of respondents said they’re not willing to sacrifice emergency, prescription drug and hospitalization coverage in a short-term health plan. 

“People faced with rising costs may like the lower premiums in short-term health plans. But they’ll need to understand that the lower premiums come with higher out-of-pocket costs and potentially not being covered for many services,” Masterson said. 

Another issue to think about is how a health plan may affect your dependents. 

“Parents can cover their children up to the age of 26. People should remember that though they might not need pregnancy or mental health care now, you never know what life is going to bring. That includes your child potentially needing services later,” Masterson said. 

Methodology

Insurance.com commissioned Op4G to survey 1,000 men and women over the age of 18 with their own health insurance plans. Respondents were split evenly between males and females. 

About Insure.com

Insurance.com is a trusted online resource dedicated to educating consumers on auto, home, health and life insurance, developing relationships directly with carriers to offer consumers comparison rates from multiple companies. Since 2001, Insurance.com’s industry-first online tools, data-based reporting and experienced experts have helped consumers make informed insurance-related decisions, so they can choose the right insurance for their individual needs.

Twitter: @InsureCom

Press Contact:

Les Masterson

Manging editor, Insurance.com
lmasterson@quinstreet.com