More people are insured, but satisfaction levels haven't followed suit, according to a new consumer survey.

Health insurance customers displeased with coverage

By: James Abbey, December 3, 2015

While more Americans have access to free health insurance quotes, thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, greater availability hasn’t translated into improved satisfaction, according to a newly released poll.

For individuals in group health plans, customer satisfaction has fallen over the past year, reaching a low that was last seen in 2005, based on a recent survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The source of consumers’ discontent is multifold, including high premiums, out-of-pocket expenses – i.e. deductibles and copayments, specifically – and lengthy processing times when making a claim.

On a scale of 1 to 100 – the higher the number, the more satisfied consumers were – policyholders registered a 69 on ACSI’s scale. That was among all health insurance owners. For group coverage policyholders, the satisfaction level was slightly less at 68.

“Consumers least satisfied with Internet service providers.”

Compared to other industries, however, consumers didn’t have too much of a problem with health insurance coverage. ACSI reported that health coverage was the fifth-lowest among the industries ranked, with consumers finding more fault with fixed-line telephone service providers, the U.S. Postal Service, cable television providers and Internet access companies.

One area that consumers were pleased with regarding health insurance was their access to primary care, suggesting that they have a greater availability of physicians for treatment. Specifically, specialty care doctors and health care facilities consumers found to be the most procurable, ACSI detailed from its poll questioning 70,000 participants.

A health insurance estimate enables people to determine how much they would have to pay in premiums in order to receive coverage, thereby lowering expenses should they need to be treated. Despite this, nearly one-third of Americans have put off necessary medical care due to finances.

1 in 3 have delayed being seen by doctor
Approximately 31 percent of Americans say that they – or someone close to them, like a family member – has delayed medical treatment, citing expenses as the reason, according to a newly released survey from Gallup. That’s on par with 2014 when the share was 33 percent, which has held relatively constant in the past decade.

Andrew Dugan, Gallup analyst, pointed out how when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, its aim was to both to increase health insurance ownership and decrease costs.

“Given these goals and the apparent success of the law in accomplishing the former, it would seem logical for fewer national adults to report that they or a family member has delayed medical treatment simply because of cost,” Dugan explained. “But this has not happened; instead, the percentage has held statistically constant since the law was passed in 2010.”

Across the board, uninsured rates have fallen substantially. For instance, in Rhode Island, 13 percent of residents did not have health insurance in 2013. Since then, the rate has dropped more than 10 percent to 2.7 percent, based on a separate Gallup poll. Through the first six months of 2015, uninsured levels are at – or below – 5 percent in seven states. Customized free health insurance quotes, available through online comparison tools, have enabled more people to see what premiums are among a variety of providers. This saves time and money.