Uninsured and unsure of health law 2nd enrollment period

uninsured health low

“The second enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act starts on November 15th, 2014.”

“Surely you can't be serious.”

“I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.”

The uninsured are a difficult segment of the population to get a hold of and enroll in healthcare coverage – hence the reason they are uninsured. One if the reasons they are so slippery seems to be lack of awareness of important dates. About 21% of uninsured Americans told the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll that they expect to get coverage but still don’t know where; however a bigger problem is the 89% who couldn’t get insurance even if they want to because they don’t know when – including 13% who gave wrong dates in 2014 and 2015 when asked when the next open enrollment period starts.

Additionally, 66% know “only a little” or “nothing at all” about the health insurance marketplace, and 53% do not know that the health reform law can provide low and moderate income Americans with financial help so that they can buy insurance. This unawareness must certainly affect the opinion of the 38% who expect to remain uninsured; most of them (18%) do not think that they will be able to afford a plan.

The good news is that a majority (59%) of uninsured Americans plan to get coverage. In addition to the already mentioned 21% who don’t know yet where, 15% say they will get it from an employer, 8% from Medicaid or other state-specific provider, 7% from healthcare.gov or a state-specific insurance exchange marketplace, 5% will buy it themselves, 3% from a private insurance company, and 1% will get it somewhere else. As for the 38% who expect to remain uninsured (aside from those who don’t think they can afford it), 9% don’t want to be forced to buy anything, 3% would rather pay a penalty for not having coverage than pay for insurance, 1% don’t think that they need insurance coverage, and 6% gave other reasons.

One of the main goals – if not the most important of all – of the Affordable Care Act is to make healthcare accessible to as many people as possible; that includes converting the uninsured. However, this is not a Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come” type of deal. Even if 100% of uninsured Americans wanted to change their status, they’d have a hard time doing it if they are not acquainted with the key facts. The same poll provided data on health insurance-related advertising. Apparently, not enough people have seen ads providing information on how to get health insurance.

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