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ACA: Half of uninsured don't intend to buy health coverage, poll says

Many without insurance remain unaware of the individual mandate

With less than a week remaining before the deadline to enroll for insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) healthcare exchanges, the Obama administration still faces an uphill battle both to persuade the uninsured to obtain coverage and educate the country about what’s in the law.

A poll released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 50% of uninsured adults between the ages of 18 and 64 say they do not intend to sign up for coverage, while 40% say the plan to do so, and 10% either don’t know or didn’t respond to the poll. About two-thirds of the uninsured say they have not yet tried to get coverage, with the rest saying they have tried to get it through a state or the federal exchange, Medicaid, their employer, or a private insurance company.

The latest enrollment figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that 4.2 million people had signed up for insurance through the exchanges as of March 1.

In addition, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was instituting a “special enrollment period,” allowing people who had begun but not yet completed the enrollment process through an exchange by March 31 to obtain an extension of the deadline.

The Kaiser poll found that many of the uninsured aren’t aware of important aspects of the ACA. One-third of those without insurance said they didn’t know that the law requires nearly all Americans to have health coverage or face a fine, while nearly 60% were unaware of the March 31 enrollment deadline.

In addition, slightly fewer than half of those polled knew that the ACA gives states the option of expanding Medicaid enrollment, and more than 40% don’t know that the law provides subsidies to help low- and moderate-income individuals purchase healthcare insurance.

The poll also contained some good news for the Obama administration and ACA supporters. It found that opinion of the bill among the uninsured is improving, with 45% of the uninsured reporting an unfavorable opinion of the ACA compared with 56% in February. Conversely, 37% reported a positive opinion in the latest poll, compared with 22% in February.

In addition, many of the individual provisions of the ACA remain popular, at least among those who know about them. For example, 80% like the fact that the bill allows adults remain on their parents’ insurance plan up to age 26, 79% like that it closes the Medicare “doughnut hole” in prescription drug coverage, and 77% approve of the subsidies for insurance purchase.

The bad news is that large numbers of Americans don’t know about these and other provisions of the law. More than 70% are unaware of the raised age for dependent coverage, 40% don’t know it closes the Medicare doughnut hole, and 63% don’t know about the premium subsidies available to low- and moderate-income individuals.

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According to a new study, physicians are recording higher blood pressure readings than their nurses, and this could be causing an increase in unnecessary treatment.

While the American Medical Association is fighting to reverse the financial risk to physicians over the controversial 90-day premium grace period in the Affordable Care Act, it just released a series of resources to help doctors if confronted with policy jumpers.

If you are planning to attend the American College of Physicians Internal Medicine 2014 meeting, April 10-12, in Orlando, Medical Economics is setting up video interviews with internists to talk about the challenges you face in practice.

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why there is mandatory health insurance to buy? why one has to pay penalty? both things are enforced & absurd. absolutely not necessary. there is no consideration for millions who can't afford, will drop, prefer to pay penalty. it is dirty game to make more money for insurance companies. people has to make more money to pay premiums, hence will pay more federal & state taxes & medicare, then will pay premiums for health insurance, pay all hefty deductibles for individual & family before anything covered, insurance companies pay more taxes on income, ultimate winner is government. work hard???? who lazy wants to work in our wonderful country? how it is going to work?
Mar 28, 2014