Health Reform: Now the glass is half full

Boy people are weird. After no small amount of complaining about the health reform law, now it seems that the majority of people who signed up for coverage during the open enrollment period are happy with their coverage – including three out of four Republicans!

A series of recent studies has gained media attention over the past few days because they all offer a bit of good news for a change: that the uninsured rate has fallen in recent months – from 17.1% at the end of 2013 to 13.9 percent today – and that most people are satisfied with their new health plans.

There are a few implications of these reports:

First, it’s even less likely now that the ACA will be repealed. As we’ve said for that past couple years, once implemented, it will be nearly impossible to get rid of the law because to do so the government would have to take something away from people, and politically that’s very difficult to do.

Second, it gives President Obama an “I told you so” moment. Sure, he said that if you like your health plan you can keep it. And sure, he had egg on his face when that statement turned out not to be 100% accurate. But when the administration offered a “fix” – an opportunity for individuals and small employers to continue their non-granfathered, non-compliant plans during a transition period – the President also said that the new plans provide better coverage and that people would be happy with them too. It appears that he was right.

Finally, the new reports give brokers some additional ammo when trying to sell individual health insurance policies. For those who have focused on getting employers to abandon their group plans and let their employees buy health insurance in the individual market, this is more evidence that the employees would be happy with that decision. And for those who sell primarily to individuals and families with no group coverage available, the thumbs up from people who have taken the plunge will convince others that they, too, should sign up for health coverage.

Of course, not everything is great with the law. There are still lots of problems, and before long there will be new polls showing different results, but this latest round of studies gives us some hope creates an opportunity for brokers.

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