Americans Have Little Faith in ACA Exchanges

Although the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act's health exchanges is still months away, Americans are doubtful the exchanges will operate smoothly this time around.

Although the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health exchanges is still months away, Americans are doubtful the exchanges will operate smoothly this time around, according to a new survey.

Bankrate’s latest Health Insurance Pulse survey found the debacle of last October’s rollout is still very clear in people’s minds. When predicting how this fall’s open enrollment period will go, 32% said they are “not at all confident” it will go smoothly and another 24% are “not too confident.” More than three-quarters of Republicans are not confident compared with 27% of Democrats.

"This demonstrates the long shadow cast by the bungled rollout of the exchanges last year," Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman said in a statement .

While slightly more than a quarter of Democrats are expecting much higher rates for health plans, 66% of Republicans predicting rate increases. However, those fears may be unfounded, according to Bankrate. One expert said annual increases of 20% to 25% were common before the law, but preliminary filings for 2015 reveal that insurers are looking at price hikes averaging 8.2%, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ research.

Familiarity with Obamacare has only reinforced positive and negative perceptions of the health law, according to Bankrate. A survey high 37% are now more negative — up 9 percentage points — about the ACA’s impact on their healthcare compared to a year ago, while just 16% are more positive.

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Feelings about the ACA are varying by age, with younger people ages 18 to 29 less likely (than those ages 30 to 49 (21%) to say health reform is becoming more of a positive for them.

"The Obama Administration is still having trouble getting Americans to believe in affordable healthcare, despite the Department of Health and Human Services' recent report that nearly half the people buying subsidized plans on HealthCare.gov are paying $50 a month or less for their health plans," Whiteman said.