aca & the new normal

Consumer Desire for Fewer Mandatory Health Insurance Benefits

Most consumers only benefit from three mandatory categories

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA., December 23, 2016 /MarketWired/ — As Congress prepares to debate the future of health care, a nationwide survey released today from shows consumer support for requiring a few “bread and butter” benefits in health insurance plans.

More than half of respondents supported requiring three categories of benefits: hospitalization, lab tests and emergency care (57 percent); doctor and specialist visits (56 percent); and prescription drugs (54 percent).

The cost of health insurance is a growing concern. Obamacare plans have broad benefits but very different costs based on whether an individual is eligible for a subsidy. For 2016 plans on, the average premium with subsidies included is only $106. However, in the absence of subsidies, the average premium is $386. For 2017, Obamacare premiums have increased an average of 25 percent.

Looking ahead

President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans have promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, a move that would likely take time. Most analysts expect any major changes will be implemented at a later date and won’t affect 2017 plans that have already been purchased. But long term, Trump and Republicans have said they will replace Obamacare with more plan choices, lower costs and greater flexibility regarding which benefits are included.

“In a perfect world, everyone could afford soup-to-nuts health insurance. The reality is millions of Americans buy health insurance without any financial assistance from employers or federal subsidies and find Obamacare premiums unaffordable,” said Sam Gibbs, executive director of “Before the Affordable Care Act, consumers could choose from a wide range of plans with varying levels of benefits, tailored to what they needed and what they could afford. Consumers still want this choice.”

The nationwide survey of 1,572 adults asked, “Assuming the cost/insurance premium would depend on the benefits you select, which of the following benefits do you think should be mandatory in every health insurance plan?” Respondents could pick more than one option.

In a perfect world, everyone could afford soup-to-nuts health insurance...

The results were as follows:

  • Hospitalization, lab tests, & emergency care (57.1 percent)
  • Doctor & specialist visits (55.8 percent)
  • Prescription drugs (54.3 percent)
  • Preventive care/wellness programs (50 percent)
  • Maternity & newborn care (44.5 percent)
  • Mental health & drug/alcohol rehab (37.6 percent)
  • Other (2.2 percent)

Since 2014, plans operating under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been required to include 10 essential health benefits, many of which are listed in the choices above. Short term health insurance plans, in comparison, do not have a standardized set of benefits and typically offer what would be described as “major medical coverage.”

These plans are one-third to one-half the cost of Obamacare plans and have broader provider networks so enrollees can go to most doctors and still be covered. Eligibility requirements as well as flexibility in benefits contribute to the cost savings realized by consumers. In addition, people can enroll in term health insurance at any time. Enrollees may have to pay the Obamacare Tax unless they qualify for one of several exemptions.




Survey results are based on 1,572 responses to a nationwide survey conducted from Dec. 1, 2016, to Dec. 3, 2016. The answer options were displayed in randomized order across respondents. The survey was displayed within a network of over 100 different news websites and other content sites. Demographic inferencing and methodology to acquire survey respondents who approximate national statistics on age, gender, income, and region was performed by Google-administered technology. Race, education, and health insurance status were not examined. Margin of error across survey responses is estimated at +2.5/-2.5. was created to educate people about the benefits of short term health insurance and provide a fast, online process for purchasing these plans. Short term health insurance is a flexible and low-cost major medical insurance for individuals without expensive pre-existing health conditions. It is not Obamacare. Short term health plans offer consumers the flexibility to choose health plans with the benefits that matter most to them and combine these benefits with broad provider networks. Additional information about AgileHealthInsurance can be found here.