Obamacare Mandate Survey: Only 41% Expect Uninsured Tax Penalty to be Enforced on 2016 Tax Returns, 7% Say They’ll Cancel Coverage if Tax Penalty is Abolished, According to eHealth Survey

A new survey of over 500 people who buy their own health insurance
finds that 63% say they’ll keep their current plan if the tax penalty
for going uninsured is repealed; 30% would seek cheaper coverage

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Obamacare’s individual mandate (the tax penalty for being uninsured) has
only a minimal impact on people’s decisions to enroll in a health plan
under the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), according to a
February 2017 survey conducted by eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH). eHealth
operates eHealth.com,
the nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange.

“The Affordable Care Act is in a death spiral and the individual mandate
has done virtually nothing to prevent that,” said eHealth CEO Scott
Flanders. “What we hear from customers every day is that they want
affordable coverage that actually meets their needs. From our
perspective, the GOP replacement plan that was released yesterday has
the right mix of incentives and enforcement mechanisms in it to lower
costs, attract more millennials, and stabilize the health insurance

eHealth’s findings are based on a voluntary email survey of eHealth
customers who purchased health insurance plans through eHealth.com. For
the 2016 tax year, people without qualifying health insurance may be
subject to a tax penalty of 2.5% of their total adjusted gross income
or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, whichever is greater.

As the 2016 tax filing deadline approaches and the future of the ACA is
debated in Congress, over 500 customers who purchased health plans
through eHealth answered questions about specific provisions of the ACA
and the future of health reform. Highlights from the survey include the

When asked about the individual mandate (the requirement for most
Americans to have qualifying health insurance):

  • 5% said they bought health insurance because of the individual mandate
  • 7% say they would cancel their insurance policy if the individual
    mandate were repealed
  • 30% say they would look for a cheaper health insurance plan if the
    individual mandate were repealed

When asked how they felt about the Affordable Care Act:

  • 7% say the ACA is working well and should be left alone
  • 37% say the ACA should be fixed rather than repealed
  • 54% favor a repeal
  • 26% (about half of those who support repeal) say they want to see the
    replacement plan first

eHealth’s also asked respondents to prioritize the issues they’d like to
see emphasized in a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act.
According to the survey, the most important issues for people on
Obamacare are:

  • #1 – Coverage for pre-existing conditions: 28% ranked access to
    coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions is their top
  • #2 (tied) – Flexible benefits: 16% ranked flexible benefits as
    their top priority
  • #2 (tied) – Premium tax credits: 16% ranked refundable tax
    credits as their top priority
  • #4 Repealing the individual mandate: 14% ranked repealing the
    ACA’s individual mandate as their top priority


These survey results are based on a voluntary nationwide email survey of
a set of recent eHealth customers conducted between February 21 and 24,
2017. More than 500 responses were collected. All survey requests were
emailed to individuals who had purchased a health insurance plan through
eHealth.com, eHealth’s non-government health insurance marketplace. The
survey asked respondents to self-report whether or not they received
advanced premium tax credits (Obamacare subsidies).


eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) owns eHealth.com, the
nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange
where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health
insurance products from leading insurers side by side and purchase and
enroll in coverage online. eHealth offers thousands of individual,
family and small business health plans underwritten by many of the
nation’s leading health insurance companies. eHealth (through its
subsidiaries) is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and
the District of Columbia. eHealth also offers educational resources and
powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help Medicare beneficiaries
navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and
enroll in select plans online through Medicare.com (www.Medicare.com),
eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com)
and PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com).

For more health insurance news and information, visit eHealth’s Consumer
Resource Center


For media inquiries, please contact:
DMA Communications for
eHealth, Inc.
Sande Drew, 916-207-7674
Nate Purpura, 650-210-3115