Obamacare

Why Do People Opt Out of Health Insurance? It's Not Affordable, Stupid.

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Spanish version of Obamacare. How embarrassing.
Watchdog.org

As the Obama administration works to meet its new, down-scaled target of enrolling 9.9 million Americans in health insurance for next year, it faces a number of obstacles. One of the biggest is convincing the people who opted out last time around that they should reconsider.

As The Hill points out, reaching the still-uninsured is a tall task. Remember, we're talking about people who already had one opportunity to sign up for coverage through Obamacare. Each one had his or her own reasons for choosing to go without during the last open enrollment period. But survey research conducted mostly on behalf of pro-Obamacare groups like Enroll America can clue us in to what these individuals, who were eligible for coverage but eschewed it anyway, were thinking.

The short answer is that health insurance is still too damn expensive.

Despite the passage of the optimistically named Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans are as convinced as ever that health insurance is unaffordable. Before last October's Obamacare rollout, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the main reason people had no health insurance was cost. Then, midway through the first enrollment period, the polling firm PerryUndem again asked individuals who hadn't signed up for Obamacare why they were uninsured. Seven in ten said, simply, "I can't afford it."

This makes sense when you realize that a lot of these individuals are barely getting by on many fronts. The Kaiser poll also found that 71 percent were very or somewhat worried they wouldn't be able to pay their rent or mortgage. Some 61 percent said they were struggling to afford gas or transportations costs, while 45 percent said the same about affording food.

Eight in 10 agreed insurance generally is "something I need." But given the opportunity, they still weren't buying it. It seems that the type of "comprehensive" health policies Obamacare requires people to purchase are viewed as a luxury among this population. 

Forced to choose between health coverage and staying in their homes or putting dinner on their tables, some people decide insurance is the lower priority. This should not surprise us. Perhaps if they had the option to buy a simpler, bare-bones catastrophic policy, some of them would make a different choice. In that Kaiser study, the "eligible uninsured" were far more likely to be "very worried" about paying for medical bills in the event of a serious illness or accident (76 percent) than about paying for routine care (50 percent).

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  1. “As the Obama administration works to meet its new, down-scaled target of enrolling 9.9 million Americans”

    Uh, I’d call that the ‘temporary’ goal, until it dawns on them that nobody wants their damn product.

    1. They know people don’t want it, thats why they made it mandatory.

      1. ^^ Bingo !!!

  2. the administration … expects the figure to rise to somewhere between 9 and 9.9 million. So instead of adding almost 6 million people to the coverage rolls, it will add fewer than 3 million.

    Serious question: Why does the administration announce such predictions? Is it lowballing so that, say, 4 million being added can be touted as a great success?

    1. “4 million being added can be touted as a great success?”

      Exactly. This is the same kind of scam they’ve been doing for years no. Their internal polls indicate less than the 6 million previously projected, but more than the current 3 million they just announced.

      So they announce new goals, so that next year they can declare that “Obamacare is doing better than projected!”. It’s Pravda level truthiness.

  3. Excellent article.

    Why insure the elderly via Medicare? Why not insure the productive young if anyone?

    Our priorities are whack. The Tea Party loves their Medicare wastefulness.

    1. Hey, turd!
      “”This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. ? So it’s written to do that,” Gruber said”
      […]
      “”Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber continued. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.”…

      Most transparent admin EVAH!

      1. Sevo, you’re not going to get PB with that quote. He’s going to look at that comment and think, “Gruber sure is a smart man. We should put him in charge!”

        1. I never believed I wasn’t mandated to pay Medicare and Medicaid taxes.

          1. Palin’s Buttplug|11.11.14 @ 6:36PM|#
            “I never believed…”

            Hey, turd! No dice on the misdirection!
            Most transparent admin EVAH!

          2. “I never believed I wasn’t mandated to pay Medicare and Medicaid taxes.”

            So you admit that government mandates are an abuse of power, and outright theft. Good for you TurdBurglar.

    2. Hey shreek, you shithead, didn’t you tell us that obumblecare was going to make health insurance prices go down?

      You only have to get caught in one lie to ruin your credibility. One lie makes you a liar, but you have told so many now I lost count.

    3. “Why insure the elderly via Medicare? Why not insure the productive young if anyone?”

      Spoken like a true proggie. It would be much cheaper to just euthanize the old, wouldn’t it?

      1. Yeah, especially after the government has taken their payroll taxes all their working lives.

        1. especially after the government has taken their payroll taxes all their working lives.

          So what? The government then took that money and spent it on stuff for them. It bought them infrastructure and wars and agricultural subsidies and a few more wars. Why should the young have to pay all that back? The old let all this happen. They could have forced their politicians to not waste their payroll taxes on stupid stuff.

  4. Because under the ACA, insurance is a financially a bad deal.
    When you’re going to be paying three times what your actuarial risk justifies, it makes more sense to take the premium money and put it into a savings account.

    1. To the healthy insurance has always been a bad deal.

      To good drivers auto insurance has always been a bad deal.

      Duuuhhh!

      1. Palin’s Buttplug|11.11.14 @ 6:31PM|#
        “To the healthy insurance has always been a bad deal.
        To good drivers auto insurance has always been a bad deal.”

        There’s stupid and then there’s turd!
        You bet. Good drivers never have anyone run into them, so they don’t need insurance!

        1. Good drivers PAY LESS for insurance. OBVIOUSLY, and everyone knows it. The butt plug is just being an ass.

      2. Please, please, take a statistics class.

      3. President Obama said that PPACA would involve no new taxes and wouldn’t add a dime to the deficit.

        Then, when the ACA was on trial for its Constitutionality, it avoided the guillotine (being struck down) because it was, in effect, a large new tax.

        The American People were promised one thing and given another.

        So why shouldn’t they be upset and angry?

    2. That’s basically what happened to me. The ACA made insurance unaffordable for me. It took away my affordable insurance and told me I had to buy much more expensive, unaffordable insurance. Now I have no insurance and I’ll be punished for it. Great job.

  5. Why Do People Opt Out of Health Insurance? It’s Not Affordable, Stupid.

    Obamacare fixes that, Stupid.

    1. Apparently not.

    2. Obumblecare actually makes it worse.

    3. HA HA! O WoW!

  6. “Why Do People Opt Out of Health Insurance? It’s Not Affordable, Stupid.”

    What? We passed the Affordable Care Act. It’s Affordable health insurance for everyone. It’s right there in the title.

    Stephanie, you are just one of those Koch funded Teathulicans, aren’t you?

    1. BOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH!!!111!!

      /demfag

  7. Something that is very difficult to remember is that health insurance does not insure health: health insurance insures finances.

    I will not be healthy just because I have health insurance. The point of health insurance is to ensure that I am not financially ruined by health expenses.

    So it is entirely rational for someone who is young and healthy and does not have any finances to protect to forgo health insurance. In the unlikely event they have moderate or major health expenses, they can just go bankrupt and go on Medicaid without losing that much. In the meantime, they get to invest their money into bettering their position rather than on health insurance they are unlikely to use.

    Of course if these people had a true catastrophic option, they might find it worth the cable-bill level premium. But under Obamacare where their premiums subsidize the unhealthy and wealthy and old, it is much harder for them to justify paying for health insurance.

    1. But under Obamacare where their premiums subsidize the unhealthy and wealthy and old and cover medical expenses that are neither needed nor desired, it is much harder for them to justify paying for health insurance prepaid luxury health care.

      FTFM

      1. Especially when the “prepaid luxury health care” is offered to them behind the illusion of free-market “shopping around,” when in fact, what’s going on behind the artificially-market-flavored exchange websites is about as far from a free market as you can get.

        Insurance companies slap together plans that they can advertise on these exchange sites. The deep pockets of Joe and Jane Taxpayer are subsidizing whatever they charge, and because this wacked law says everybody has to buy their shit no matter what, any incentives for them to keep fees competitive has been stripped away.

        They’re not really buying health care, they’re paying kickbacks to insurance companies to keep the IRS from taking a couple percentage points of their incomes.

      2. Yes, it’s a very important point that the “essential benefits” include all sorts of treatment that many people would consider not strictly necessary such as substance abuse treatment, mental health coverage, and pediatric dental care.

        The essential benefits are effectively the “mandatory minimum”, and given community rating, it means that the “healthy” in terms of not needing substance abuse treatment, are going to subsidize the sick, in terms of needing it. Everyone pays the same rate under community rating. Thus, people who have no drug problems are helping to pay for treatment for drug addicts. And kids braces, and psychotherapy, and so on.

        If the “essential benefits” were really limited to JUST essentials like emergency room treatment and hospitalization, plans would be cheaper, and there would be less cross-subsidization.

        Personally, I think it’s fascinating how most people miss the fact that what gets included as an “essential benefit” under community rating, basically means that that thing is going to be cross subsidized by people who don’t need it. The structure of the ACA effectively means that people who don’t have drug problems cross subsidize rehab for people who do.

    2. “Something that is very difficult to remember is that health insurance does not insure health: health insurance insures finances.
      I will not be healthy just because I have health insurance. The point of health insurance is to ensure that I am not financially ruined by health expenses.”

      O’care was driven by two supposed goals:
      1) To improve US healthcare outcomes, which (supposedly) were not good.
      2) To increase the number of people with medical insurance

      As you mention, there is only a very tenuous connection between having insurance and having better health. The claim that people will engage in preventative care has been blown out of the water along with nearly every claim that US healthcare was poor.
      And it appears that the increased number of insureds is trivial, regardless of PJ-kid and Obo’s lame marketing efforts.
      So we got this huge new bureaucracy at huge new costs, with increased IRS powers, all so Pelosi got to do a victory lap.

      1. “…So we got this huge new bureaucracy at huge new costs, with increased IRS powers,…”

        This was the goal. It never had anything to do with healthcare or insurance. They divert a huge stream of money through government and skim off a significant amount of it in the process. That was the goal. That and control. Now they have a precedent for the broccoli mandate and you can bet your ass it is coming.

    3. In the unlikely event they have moderate or major health expenses, they can just go bankrupt and go on Medicaid without losing that much.

      Until the next round of bankruptcy reform makes medical debt non-dischargeable.

      They want you indebted to the State in perpetuity.

  8. Why Do People Opt Out of Health Insurance?

    Why? Maybe because, contrary to what Jonathan Gruber thinks, Americans aren’t quite so stupid after all. Obamacare is a ripoff.

  9. Young people don’t prioritize health insurance because they rarely get sick, it costs a lot, they think they are invincible, and they can usually scrape by with a visit to the county emergency room when all else fails.

    Under what circumstances will it be OK, again, to ride a motorcycle in California without a helmet? Reason is just nuts about ganja smoking…every 3rd article is about it. The argument for the helmet law was that brain-dead 20yos, after an accident, would end up under government care. If the kids had health insurance, it wasn’t enough.

    Here’s what I’m getting at: what if a 20something could get a decal for his motorcycle license plate that said he was fully insured for whatever may happen to him. Perhaps some terms on life-support care would be required also. Would that perhaps provide some incentive to these miscreants to prioritize the purchase of health insurance? He might want hold down an extra job to pay for it. The horror.

    1. Might be cheaper to give up the motorcycle.

    2. Much as I despise the helmet law, I doubt there’s sufficient dislike for the kids to pay the extra to avoid the lid.
      I hate the law, but never did ride bare-headed.

      1. It’s OK for a kid (a 20somethings, as I wrote) to join the Marine Corps to fight a pointless war, but he can’t ride his motorcycle on Decker Canyon Road without a helmet, even with the full insurance that he purchased himself. Is that your point?

        1. widget|11.11.14 @ 9:27PM|#
          “It’s OK for a kid (a 20somethings, as I wrote) to join the Marine Corps to fight a pointless war,”…

          Uh, you need to read my post again.

          1. …I doubt there’s sufficient dislike for the kids to pay the extra to avoid the lid.

            Disliked by who? Payed the extra by who? My point is that if the kids want to pay the extra themselves, let them have at it.

    3. @ widget. I bet your one of those guys that thinks its okay to send some “braindead 20 year old” (your words not mine) to fight in some foreign adventure, where he gets his leg blown off. You then give him a prosthetic leg, then under Obamacare tax him for the prosthetic leg.

  10. See, progressives are going to read this article and come to the exact opposite conclusions. It’s going to be either one of these two:
    1. The true diehard Obamaites or Democrats will argue that it’s because these people are simply ignorant of how awesomely affordable the plans are with the subsidies.
    2. The diehard progressive’s progressive. They are going to say this is why we need single payer.

    The funny thing is, the real consequences of Obamacare haven’t been felt for most. Wait until a lot of that 70% who said it was too expensive see that they don’t get their tax return anymore. Wait until the employer mandate kicks in.

    Very few people buy insurance through the individual market to begin with. The people who don’t have insurance tend to be the check to check types who like getting that ‘free money’ after they file taxes. They tend to be less political or less likely to vote, but man won’t they be pissed. It’s one of the more underrated aspects of this law, in my view.

    1. “Wait until a lot of that 70% who said it was too expensive see that they don’t get their tax return anymore. Wait until the employer mandate kicks in.”

      I’m not convinced either one of those ever will. Obo and the Ds in general are getting mighty frightened of the push-back from those who will suffer from those two.
      They passed it, smiling big, under the presumption (like turd) that folks would ‘get used to it’. Well, ‘what’s in it’ isn’t subject to getting used to.

    2. how awesomely affordable the plans are with the subsidies

      The subsidies are to make sure you pay no more than 8% of your gross income on insurance. The problem is that they have made it to where you have to pay 8% of your gross income on insurance. It’s ridiculous. I was paying 2%. They made that illegal.

      1. The problem is that they have made it to where you have to pay 8% of your gross income on insurance.

        Really? So Mark Zurkerberg is paying 8% of his gross income for health insurance. I have no idea, could you mean

        1. gross (or net) wages?

          Really. No one knows.

        2. Only for the middle class.

          This is why it is a huge tax hike for the middle class.

          If you are wealthy enough to pay the premium with 1% of your income, then it’s a small hike.

          If you are poor enough to get subsidies, then you pay

          1. oops, if you are poor enough to get subsidies then you pay les than 8% on a sliding scale.

            But if you are just rich enough to not get subsidies then you pay around 8%, because the premiums will consume the entire 8% and you won’t get any subsidies.

            1. As a skilled “Cook”, or “Chef” 8% is a good chunk of income that could be spent on investing in one’s own business, or on research. Shit, once you realize that you are paying higher taxes in order for you to get that subsidy, that makes your mandatory Health Insurance payment “Affordable”, you realize it’s a bad deal.

  11. my neighbor’s step-mother makes $73 hourly on the laptop . She has been fired for 5 months but last month her pay check was $12897 just working on the laptop for a few hours. pop over to this website……

    ======== http://www.payinsider.com

  12. Kinda crazy dude, I mean for real. Wow.
    http://www.anon-way.tk

  13. Absolutely true. The Gold-Plated Cadillac Plan that the government forced on us is way beyond my means.

  14. I’m surprised that a discussion of affordability and the survey cited don’t seem to address or account for differences between states that expanded Medicaid enrollment and those that did not. Of course someone who would qualify for expanded Medicaid but instead cannot get any kind of assistance or subsidy at all would find the insurance offered unaffordable — how much of that population is included in these surveys, and how does the experience of these people affect the analysis here?

  15. The argument here seems to be that Obamacare still isn’t cheap enough to get the market traction they’re looking for.

    Okay, but being cheaper than the previous alternative (like COBRA) is still better than nothing. Isn’t a few people now being able to afford insurance when they couldn’t before better than those people not being able to afford insurance?

    To the commenter saying the gov’t made paying less than 8% on health insurance illegal, stop being insane on the internet.

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