Published By Vince Calio for NJBIZ
A majority of New Jerseyans think they’re health insurance premiums are too high, but are overall satisfied with the quality of care they are receiving, according to a survey conducted by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Rutgers-Eagleton Explore Health Insurance Choices, Information and Satisfaction institute.
The “Health Matters Poll” report surveyed a scientifically selected random sample of 1,203 New Jersey adults. The study found that six in 10 residents had a choice of different plans when enrolling in their current one, and among those who had a choice, about nine in 10 say they had enough information about the different plans to make an informed choice.
A majority of residents surveyed said they are very or somewhat satisfied with a number of features about their current plan. Residents feel most satisfied with the specific doctors, hospitals, and prescription drugs available to them, followed by the extent of benefits that are covered and their out-of-pocket costs like co-pays and deductibles.
Those same residents, however, believe insurance companies charge too much. A majority said they are less satisfied with the cost of their monthly insurance premium than any other asked-about aspect of their health care: 34 percent feel somewhat or very dissatisfied about this particular cost.
The people who purchased insurance themselves rather than getting it through their employer or Medicare, naturally, were more concerned about the cost of health insurance and less satisfied with the level of service, especially when it comes to out-of-pocket expenses and the extent of their benefits.
“The poll confirmed what we’re hearing on the ground – affordability and the value of available plans remain major issues among residents purchasing in certain markets,” said Linda Schwimmer, CEO of NJCQI, in a release. “The ACA was effective in increasing coverage, but there’s more to be done to make that coverage affordable. This is especially true for small businesses and individuals above 400 percent of the federal poverty level who are purchasing insurance on their own and not receiving subsidies. They are feeling the brunt of a health care system’s costs that are ever increasing.”
Those surveyed who are on Medicare and Medicaid are generally more satisfied than others with various aspects of their plan. Those who obtained insurance through an employer are especially satisfied when it comes to the extent of their benefits and the specific doctors, hospitals, and prescription drugs available to them.
A majority of residents who individually purchased a plan from an insurance company say that the monthly cost was the most important factor in choosing their current plan.
“This group is the least satisfied about current costs and thus considers cost most when it comes to choosing a plan,” said Dr. Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, in a written statement. “They are the only group to cite this as their top reason and do so by a 3-to-1 margin or more over every other demographic.”