Study: Satisfaction with ObamaCare tops traditional plans

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People who bought coverage through ObamaCare are generally more satisfied than those with other types of insurance, according to a new national survey.

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ObamaCare customers rated their satisfaction over the last year as 696 out of 1,000, compared to the 679-point rating by customers with employer-based plans, according to a large survey by the consumer research firm J.D. Power.

Customer satisfaction has increased sharply from ObamaCare’s tumultuous first year.

New enrollees rated their experience at  670 — a significant 55 points higher than the previous year, when ObamaCare exchanges were plagued by website failures.

People were more likely to be satisfied by ObamaCare if they had already enrolled in coverage. They gave even higher marks if they had auto-enrolled in their plans this year, with a rating of 744 out of 1,000.

The J.D. Power study, which surveyed more than 3,000 healthcare customers, offers the first comprehensive look at the Department of Health and Human Services's (HHS) efforts to improve the customer experience in ObamaCare’s second year.  

Under new leadership this year, HHS officials had prioritized a smoother customer experience after the department had botched the launch of the ObamaCare marketplace the year before.

The good news on ObamaCare exchanges comes the same week a national poll found that the number of people who support the healthcare law is now greater than those who oppose the law.

The factors considered by the survey included cost, coverage, customer service and claims processing — with cost making the biggest difference in satisfaction.

Cost is the most influential attribute driving satisfaction among marketplace plan members.

The survey also reveals the varying opinions by customers under different types of ObamaCare marketplaces.

Satisfaction was highest in the 10 states that rely on a partnership with the federal government, which includes Arkansas, Oregon and West Virginia. That rating was 716 out of 1,000.

Federal marketplaces were second-most popular, rated 699, while state-based marketplaces received a 683 rating.

The popularity of federal marketplaces over state marketplaces could pose difficulties for HHS with the looming Supreme Court challenge. Justices will decide in June whether federal marketplaces are legally allowed to give out healthcare subsidies — a decision that could force federally facilitated marketplaces to be replaced by state-based exchanges.