Nearly Half of Uninsured Went Without Coverage Because It Was Too Expensive

9 percent say they’d rather pay the fine than pay for coverage

December 17, 2015

Nearly half of those without health insurance said they went without coverage because it was too expensive, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

Forty-six percent of the uninsured made this claim. Nine percent said they would rather pay the fine than pay for coverage, and 11 percent said they tried to get coverage but were unable to do so.

As the end of the Affordable Care Act’s third open enrollment period looms, few uninsured know the exact date of the deadline. Only 7 percent correctly identify the final day for enrollment, and 65 percent say they don’t know when it is.

According to the poll, 46 percent of the public say they have an unfavorable view of the law and 40 percent say they have a favorable view.

According to the results of one question, a plurality of the public, 35 percent, say they want to see the law repealed. 14 percent say they want the law to be scaled back, 18 percent want it implemented as is, and 22 percent want to see the law expanded.

More individuals, 29 percent, say they have been hurt by the law than the 17 percent of respondents who say it has helped them. For those who said the law hurt them, a majority said that it increased costs, and others said it either made it more difficult to get the health care they needed or caused someone in their family to lose insurance.

"Our priority during Open Enrollment is to provide Americans with the information they need to understand their health insurance options and to select the best plan for their families," said Ben Wakana, the press secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. "We are focused on reaching consumers directly—through email, phone calls, text messaging, and online—guiding them through the enrollment process and reminding them about deadlines."

"Since Open Enrollment began, millions have signed up for quality coverage, and most people can find plans with premiums for less than $75 a month after tax credits," he said. "Due to the unprecedented demand for coverage, which continued to increase as we approached the December 15 deadline for January 1 coverage, we are extending the deadline to sign-up for January 1 coverage until 11:59pm PST December 17. If someone chooses not to buy health insurance by the final deadline of January 31 and could afford to do so, he or she is at risk of paying a $695 fee or more."

Critics of the law continue to argue that it is far from a success.

"The failures of Obamacare continue to pile up: co-ops have failed across the country, tax penalties have increased, and last year's extended open enrollment period was not renewed. This law continues to fail Americans who need reliable health coverage," said Natalie Gillam of AR2, a conservative policy group.

Published under: Obamacare