Health Insurance

Over 197 Million Americans Worry About Their Health Insurance

Over 197 Million Americans Worry About Their Health Insurance

Health insurance in the United States has been a critical cornerstone of Americans' financial and health situation. It's for this reason that 78% of Americans are currently worried about their health insurance and 22% have lost sleep over the issue. This includes individuals on employer, individual or government-sponsored health insurance policies.

To gain a deeper understanding, ValuePenguin performed a study asking respondents a variety of questions about their health insurance worries. This included questions about their views on coverage, costs and what would be important to them in the upcoming presidential election in 2020.

22% of Americans are worried about a rate increase for their health insurance

Less than two-thirds (62%) of Americans feel "very secure" when it comes to their health care coverage. Furthermore, about one-third (32%) are a "little worried" they'll lose their insurance coverage, while 6% are "very worried" and "not at all secure."

53% of Americans prioritize cost over coverage when selecting a health care benefits package

Health insurance costs for individuals can vary greatly depending on your age and required health care needs. This is even more evident for millennials, as 59% prefer a cheaper health insurance policy compared to a more comprehensive coverage. The silent generation, on the other hand, only looks at costs as the primary deciding factor 33% of the time.

People with lower incomes also prioritize the cost of their health insurance over the level of coverage more than those in higher income brackets. This is understandable, but can lead to challenging situations when there's a medical issue. Catastrophic health plans, for instance, frequently have the cheapest monthly premiums among marketplace policies — yet they can also come with the highest deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

56% of Americans are worried about losing health insurance for at least one reason

Most commonly 16% of respondents were worried the presidential election could result in them losing their health care.

When asked, "How secure do you feel with your current health insurance?" most individuals (62%) said they feel "very secure." However, when broken down by what type of coverage someone has, 12% of individuals with government marketplace health insurance responded that they are "not at all secure."

Over one-quarter of Americans are worried about losing their coverage due to a preexisting condition

This concern most frequently came from Gen Xers, with 35% responding that they are worried about losing their health insurance. Interestingly, 89% of silent generation respondents were not worried at all about the issue.

When considering the political divide, more Democrats are worried about preexisting condition coverage than Republicans — 33% versus 24%, respectively.

32% of Americans incorrectly believe they'd have no other way to get health care coverage if they lose their jobs.

Furthermore, 43% of those with employer health insurance think this is true. But this is actually incorrect.

Americans who lose coverage due to a job loss or change in family situation, such as having a baby, can enroll in a private health insurance policy through a special enrollment period (SEP). During this time, an individual can join their state's health insurance marketplace and purchase an individual plan from private insurers.

Additionally, you can bridge coverage through the COBRA insurance program. This program temporarily continues your job-based coverage offered by your previous employer for a maximum of 18 months.

This false thinking even is present within millennials — 38% think they would have no other health insurance available if they lost their current job. On the other hand, older generations do not have this misconception as frequently. About 80% of baby boomers know they would still be able to get coverage if they lost their jobs.

20% of Americans will choose which 2020 presidential candidate to support specifically for the candidate's stance on affordable health insurance.

Another 58% said health insurance will factor into their decision, but won't be the main reason.

Furthermore, more than 90% of Democrats responded that affordable health insurance would be one factor or the only factor they would consider when choosing a presidential candidate. This is significantly higher than Republicans — only 59% said that affordable health insurance would factor into their decision-making.

69% are more concerned with the state of the health care industry now than during previous administrations.

When broken down across party lines, Democrats were much more concerned with the current health care system than during previous administrations when compared with Republicans — 84% versus 49%, respectively. Interestingly, 60% of both parties responded that they agreed with the statement that, "Compared to five years ago, it seems like I pay more for health insurance now yet less is covered."

56% are worried that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be eliminated by the government.

If Obamacare/the ACA is repealed, 17% would lose their health care coverage, and another 22% aren't sure if they would be impacted. Democrats have the largest share of people who are at least somewhat worried that the ACA would be repealed — 72%. However, even some Republicans would be slightly worried — 35%.

Methodology

ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct a survey of 1,063 Americans with health insurance. The survey was fielded in December 2019.

Sterling Price

Sterling Price is a research analyst at ValuePenguin specializing in health and life insurance. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting and has previous experience as a licensed life insurance representative.

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