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Improving Affordability, Expanding Coverage: Opinions about Health Care Reform in Utah

As the Utah State Legislature grapples with how to achieve affordable and accessible health care coverage, AARP’s Utah State Office commissioned a survey to understand Utahns’ perception about their health, their concerns about the future of health care, and their support for specific ways to improve and expand access to health care coverage.

This telephone survey of 800 Utah residents age 18+ reveals that Utahns are worried about being able to afford their health care in the future and that they support reforms that will help make health care more affordable and accessible to all state residents, which include offering preventive care, providing better care coordination, and prohibiting insurers from basing their rates on age and pre-existing medical conditions. Utah residents believe in a system where the cost of providing health care to all state residents is shared among employers, insurers, individuals, workers, health care providers, and the government. Key survey findings include the following:

  • Utah residents are worried about the affordability of health care.Three in four respondents are worried about having to pay more for their health care coverage, and over half are worried about not being able to afford health care services they think they need. One in four respondents with health care insurance is not very or not at all confident that they will be able to afford their health care costs in the future.
  • Utah residents believe that all Utahns should have access to health care. Eighty-nine percent agree that all Utah residents should have access to basic health care. Approximately seven in ten believe it is extremely or very important for Utah to make health care more affordable and to reduce the number of uninsured residents.
  • Utah residents say employers, insurance companies, individuals, workers, health care providers, and the government should contribute in order to provide health care coverage. Although seventy percent of respondents without health care coverage are currently employed, about nine in ten say employers should contribute so that everyone can have access to quality, affordable health care coverage, and a similar proportion believes insurance companies should contribute as well.
  • Utah residents support health care reform proposals that promote health care affordability and accessibility. About three in four Utahns support proposals that would promote healthy behaviors among consumers through education and incentives, establish a system that easily coordinates a patient’s care with all their physicians, and create a basic benefit package that provides access to health care coverage to all state residents. (28 pages)

This telephone survey of 800 Utah residents ages 18 and older was conducted by RDD Field Services during November 11-23, 2008. Survey responses were weighted to reflect the actual distribution of age and gender for the 18+ population in Utah. For more information, contact Joanne Binette at 202-434-6303.

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