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Poll: 1 in 5 healthcare exchange visitors enrolled

About 1 out of every 5 people who visit the state and federal marketplaces have purchased healthcare through the online exchanges, according to a study released Monday.

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The survey, conducted by nonprofit research foundation The Commonwealth Fund, found that 21 percent of adults who visited the health insurance marketplaces said they enrolled.

Of those who visited but did not enroll, 48 percent said they weren’t sure they could afford a plan, 46 said they were still deciding on a plan, and 37 said they had technical difficulties with the website.

The Commonwealth Fund survey found that 17 percent of those who are eligible for coverage have either checked out the exchanges or inquired about the exchanges through the mail, phone or in person.

Of these, 58 percent said they are likely to enroll or seek out federal subsidies before open enrollment closes and the individual mandate penalty kicks in on March 31, 2014.

The survey also found that a strong majority, 73 percent, of those who visited the marketplaces were in good health, compared to 25 percent who said they were in fair or poor health.

In addition, 52 percent were between the ages of 30 and 49, and 21 percent were between 19 and 29. That’s good news for the Affordable Care Act, which hinges on a strong turnout from young, healthy individuals to balance out the risk pool.

Still, strong majorities who visited the exchanges in the critical opening month had negative experiences that go beyond just a broken website.

Seventy percent of people who visited the websites rated their experience as fair or poor; 56 percent said it was impossible, somewhat difficult, or very difficult to find a plan with the coverage they desired; and 61 percent said it was impossible, somewhat difficult, or very difficult to find an affordable plan.

The Commonwealth Fund survey of 4,035 adults was conducted between Oct. 9-27 and has a 4.3 percentage point margin of error.


This story was updated at 5:05 p.m.