Opposition to Obamacare Repeal Increases Between November and January Among Obamacare Enrollees but Support for Republican Reforms Remains Strong, According to eHealth Survey

People on Obamacare overwhelmingly support more flexible benefits (89%) and expanded access to tax credits (88%), and they feel they’re paying too much for coverage (78%); however, opposition to an Obamacare repeal increased from 27% to 40% between November 2016 and January 2017 while support for repeal dipped from 50% to 46%

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ:EHTH), which operates eHealth.com, the nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange, published results from two voluntary email surveys of eHealth customers who purchased Obamacare-compliant major medical health insurance plans through eHealth.com.

However, between November 2016 and January 2017, support for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare) has dwindled, and health insurance consumers are concerned about the future of health reform.

Highlights from the surveys:

  • People want to choose their benefits: Respondents to the January survey felt strongly that people should be able to choose the benefits they want covered under their health insurance plan (89%)
  • Coverage is too costly: In January, 78% of respondents said their health insurance premiums were too expensive; even among respondents who said they used tax credits (Obamacare subsidies) to help them pay for their health plan, 58% still felt their coverage cost too much
  • People want broader access to tax credits: In January, nearly nine-in-ten respondents (88%) indicated support for broader consumer access to tax credits, regardless of their income
  • Increased support for Obamacare: In January 2017, 43% of respondents said that Obamacare had been good for themselves or their family; only 34% felt the same in November
  • Disapproval for Obamacare mandates and penalties: Among January respondents, strong majorities felt that no one should be required to purchase health insurance (60%) or face a tax penalty for going uninsured (67%), though these figures had declined since November (72% and 76% respectively)

“It’s interesting to see what changes in public opinion and what doesn’t. Our customers have consistently been unhappy with the cost and benefit structure of the Affordable Care Act, but feelings about repealing the ACA has shifted in the last few months,” said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. “If you’re a Republican in Congress, the good news is that the major provisions of the reform plans they’ve put forward are popular with people on Obamacare.”

Mr. Flanders continued: “The things that have not shifted over time are concerns about high costs, support for more flexible benefits and expanded access to tax credits. These are cornerstones of GOP replacement plans and an ideal starting point for bi-partisan legislation.”

Over 4,400 eHealth customers who were enrolled in an Obamacare health insurance plan completed the survey in November 2016. Over 1,200 additional respondents completed the survey in January 2017. The survey asked a series of questions to gauge Obamacare enrollees’ feelings about the Affordable Care Act and asked respondents to report if they had received Obamacare subsidies (also known as advanced premium tax credits).

Select survey responses with November 2016 and January 2017 comparisons:


"Do you support President-elect Donald Trump's plans to repeal and/or replace Obamacare?"





  Yes - 50%   Yes - 46%  
  No - 27%  

No - 40%

  I don't know - 23%   I don't know - 14%  

"Which of the following sentences best expresses your feelings about the cost of your health insurance plan?"

  It's too expensive - 79%   It's too expensive - 78%  
  It's affordable - 21%   It's affordable - 22%  

"People should get to choose the benefits they want covered by their health insurance plan."

  I agree - 92%   I agree - 89%  

"People should be able to buy a health insurance plan that doesn't cover maternity care."

  I agree - 78%   I agree - 76%  

"People should be able to buy a health insurance plan that doesn't cover brand name prescription drugs."

  I agree - 73%   I agree - 61%  
  "People should be able to buy a health insurance plan that doesn't cover pediatric services."  
  I agree - 78%   I agree - 79%  

"People should be able to buy a plan that doesn't cover mental health care.”

  I agree - 60%   I agree - 59%  

"When it comes to ‘Trumpcare,’ what issue are you most interested in or do you have the most questions about?"

  Pre-existing conditions - 26%   Pre-existing conditions - 36%  
  Refundable tax credits / subsidies - 18%   Refundable tax credits / subsidies -11%  
  Buying across state lines - 17%   Buying across state lines - 16%  
  No mandate/penalty for being uninsured - 15%   No mandate/penalty for being uninsured - 12%  
  Other - 9%   Other - 14%  
  Medicare - 8%   Medicare - 6%  
  Small business coverage - 7%   Small business coverage - 6%  
  Medicaid block grants - 1%   Medicaid block grants - 0%  

"People should not be denied health insurance because they have a pre-existing medical condition."

  I agree - 82%   I agree - 92%  
  "No one should be legally required to buy health insurance."  
  I agree - 72%   I agree - 60%  

"No one should pay a tax penalty for being uninsured."

  I agree - 76%   I agree - 67%  
  "Adult children should be able to stay on their parents' health insurance plan until age 26."  
  I agree - 68%   I agree - 73%  


These survey results are based on a voluntary nationwide email survey of eHealth customers conducted between November 22 and November 23, 2016, and again between January 19 and January 20, 2017. More than 4,400 responses were collected in November 2016 and an additional 1,200+ responses were collected in January 2017. All survey requests were emailed to individuals who had purchased an individual or family 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). Some of the wording and formatting of survey questions and answers were paraphrased or otherwise modified for readability and presentation in this press release.


*Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.


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.



DMA Communications for eHealth, Inc.
Sande Drew, 916-207-7674
eHealth, Inc.
Nate Purpura, 650-210-3115