Trump Supporters Covered by Obamacare Overwhelmed by Out-of-Pocket Costs, High Deductibles

For marketplace participants, top priority for reform was improving affordability

February 24, 2017

Many Trump supporters who received coverage through the Affordable Care Act said they were overwhelmed by out-of-pocket costs and high deductibles, according to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation conducted focus groups following the presidential election in the battleground states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to see how Trump supporters who were covered by Obamacare felt about their coverage.

While there were some participants who had positive experiences with their coverage under Obamacare, many said they were "overwhelmed" by how unaffordable the out-of-pocket costs and high deductibles were under their plans. They also expressed concern over surprise medical bills and the cost of prescription medications.

"I have to go based on what I can afford, which is awful," said Deborah, a Trump supporter who was covered by the Obamacare marketplace in Columbus. "It’s an extremely high deductible."

"I can’t even tell you what it is because I purposely do not go to the doctor because I can’t afford it," Deborah said. "I have insurance, and I don’t use it."

Shari, a Trump supporter from Harrisburg, said she had to make difficult choices because of her healthcare costs: "You have to choose, do I pay my mortgage or do I pay the $800 medical bill that just came in the mail, or do I pay for my medications that can be life sustaining, or do I eat this week?"

According to these respondents, when Obamacare is repealed and replaced, their top priority for reform would be to improve the affordability of coverage, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

While respondents noted that Trump did not have many specifics on what health care reform would look like, they were confident that Trump would make things better. They said they wanted a replacement that would be affordable and would improve access to more doctors and physicians.

"I would like to see the insurance plans allow more variety in who they can go and see, not just one doctor or two," one survey respondent remarked.

While Trump supporters stated they wanted to eliminate Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase health insurance, they did say they wanted to keep the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for those with pre-existing conditions.

Finally, Trump supporters said they would like to lower costs by tailoring coverage to fit their needs.

"Especially in the face of rising premiums, several resented to having to pay for coverage they don’t use," the report said. "Some went so far as to describe the idea of people buying insurance that they don’t end up using as a tax on the healthy."

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment by press time.