ObamaCare Exchanges Not Doing Much To Reduce The Uninsured

A new article from the Wall Street Journal takes stock of various surveys and finds that most of the people who signed up through the ObamaCare exchanges were not previously uninsured:

-Only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured, according to a McKinsey & Co. survey of consumers thought to be eligible for the health-law marketplaces. The result is based on a sampling of 4,563 consumers performed between November and January, of whom 389 had enrolled in new insurance.

-At Michigan-based Priority Health, only 25% of more than 1,000 enrollees surveyed in plans that comply with the law were previously uninsured, said Joan Budden, chief marketing officer.

-Health Markets Inc., an insurance agency that enrolled around 7,500 people in exchange plans, said 65% of its enrollees had prior coverage. Around 10% were dropping out of employer coverage, either because the employer stopped offering its plan or because they could qualify for subsidies on the marketplaces. Fifteen percent had previous individual plans canceled, and 40% decided to switch into coverage bought through an exchange from previous individual plans.

Let’s assume that 35% of the people signing up on the exchanges were previously uninsured as the Health Markets Inc. survey suggests.  That means of 2.1 million who have signed up for a private plan in the exchanges, only 735,000 were without health insurance.  That’s not going to make much of dent in estimate 48 million who are uninsured.  And it leaves open the  possibility that the exchanges could leave more people uninsured as we still don’t know the fate of the over 4.7 million people who lost their insurance in the individual market under ObamaCare.

(For those without access to WSJ online, a PDF version of the article is here.)

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