Obamacare Could Face Large Numbers of Dropouts
Policy + Politics

Obamacare Could Face Large Numbers of Dropouts

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

More than half the people who enrolled in Obamacare last year don’t plan to sign up again—and that’s bad news for the president’s  health care law. 

A new Bankrate survey reveals that 53 percent of current Obamacare enrollees who signed up through the exchanges said they would not be enrolling for 2015. Their reason--“much higher prices for health plans.”

There could be many reasons for this, among them—more people are working and could have received health care benefits; more people have aged into Medicare and no longer need Obamacare as a bridge; more people find high deductibles along with an average 6 percent increase in premiums as too high burden.  

Related: 10 Worst Places to Live for Obamacare

An analysis by Bloomberg released last week found that premiums for plans sold on the Obamacare exchanges are going to rise by just 6 percent next year. That’s well below the “double digit” increases that some insurers had predicted earlier this year. Bloomberg noted that the lower than expected premiums in part were a result of increased insurer competition. Some 77 new insurance providers were added to the marketplace for 2015. 

Bankrate also found that another reason some current Obamacare enrollees said they wouldn’t enroll in the exchanges again was the website problems they dealt with last year. Still, government officials, for their part, say the federal website has been improved and though it won’t be perfect, it will provide consumers with a better experience than last year.

Obamacare’s second open enrollment season begins in just two weeks, and unlike last year’s nightmarish website problems, the biggest challenge could still be getting people to sign up.

That’s also the conclusion of a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that nine out of ten uninsured Americans are unaware that open enrollment for individual plans starts in November. Some two-thirds of uninsured respondents said they know “only a little” or “nothing at all” about the law. More than half of the uninsured people said they had no idea that federal subsidies were available to help make coverage more affordable. 

Related: Four Little Words That Could Kill Obamacare 

This is an alarming finding, since the key goal of the law is to expand coverage to qualified uninsured people. If those people are unaware of the law and its specific provisions to help them afford coverage, then the administration’s outreach efforts may be failing. 

"I think a lot of work needs to be done," Kaiser’s Mollyann Brodie, told CNBC. "We're at the very early stages of the second enrollment period, and right now one of the main target audiences is not primed or focused on it."

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