One-Fourth of Uninsured Adults Don’t Know About Obamacare’s Exchanges

With the administration working desperately to get people enrolled, the information gap presents a high hurdle.

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange internet site October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly called, passed in March 2010, went into effect Tuesday at 8am EST. Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges Tuesday morning. Consumers attempting to log on were met with an error message early Tuesday due to an overload of Internet traffic. 
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
March 6, 2014, 7:18 a.m.

Nearly one quarter of un­in­sured adults don’t know about Obama­care’s health in­sur­ance ex­changes, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study.

Some 23 per­cent of un­in­sured adults re­por­ted hav­ing not heard of the health law’s mar­ket­places, say re­search­ers at the Urb­an In­sti­tute, an eco­nom­ic and so­cial-policy think tank. And among adults in low-in­come fam­il­ies, 27 per­cent said they had not heard of the ex­changes.

Open en­roll­ment for health in­sur­ance through the Af­ford­able Care Act’s ex­changes ends March 31 — a date the White House, in­sur­ance com­pan­ies, and pro-Obama­care groups such as En­roll Amer­ica are eye­ing in their ef­fort to get as many Amer­ic­ans signed up for cov­er­age as pos­sible.

The suc­cess of the ex­changes de­pends on a broad pool of en­rollees, in­clud­ing some young­er, healthy people who are less ex­pens­ive to in­sure.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion has al­loc­ated some $52 mil­lion for an ad­vert­ising blitz between Janu­ary and March, of­fi­cials at the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment said. That’s twice the amount spent in the first three months of the sign-up peri­od. And they’re us­ing di­git­al mar­ket­ing and so­cial-me­dia tech­niques to reach and en­gage the tar­get audi­ence, of­fi­cials ad­ded.

But with a sig­ni­fic­ant amount of Amer­ic­ans un­aware of the cov­er­age the health law was de­signed to be­ne­fit, the ad­min­is­tra­tion faces an up­hill battle in the fi­nal weeks of en­roll­ment.

Already the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice has lowered its es­tim­ate of the num­ber of in­di­vidu­als who would sign up for cov­er­age in 2014 by 1 mil­lion due to the troubles with Health­Care.gov in its first months after go­ing live.

As of late Feb­ru­ary, some 4 mil­lion people had se­lec­ted plans in the health law’s ex­changes. To meet the most re­cent CBO pro­jec­tions, 2 mil­lion more would need to get covered in the fi­nal month.

But, the sur­vey found, low-in­come and un­in­sured adults were more likely than their re­spect­ive peer groups to have not heard at all about the ex­changes.

The sur­vey’s res­ults of­fer some hope, as re­search­ers also found that a ma­jor­ity of con­sumers who are aware of the new health in­sur­ance ex­changes are look­ing or plan to look at their op­tions. Among un­in­sured adults, the sur­vey says, roughly 19 per­cent have looked at plans and 33 per­cent in­tend to look. Of those who had looked, roughly 6 in 10 were act­ively seek­ing to pur­chase cov­er­age or de­term­ine wheth­er they were eli­gible for sub­sidies. And, the re­search­ers said, low-in­come and un­in­sured adults most likely to be­ne­fit from the health law’s cov­er­age op­tions and tax sub­sidies were more likely than their re­spect­ive peer groups to have looked or in­tend to look for cov­er­age on the ex­changes.

The res­ults were re­leased Thursday in a brief as part of the Robert Wood John­son Found­a­tion’s Decem­ber 2013 Health Re­form Mon­it­or­ing Sur­vey. Re­search­ers sur­veyed nearly 8,000 adults ages 18-64 ask­ing how much, if any­thing, they had heard about the health law’s mar­ket­places. Those who had heard about the mar­ket­places were asked if they had looked at health-plan in­form­a­tion on the ex­change web­sites, and about their ex­per­i­ences in shop­ping for cov­er­age.

What We're Following See More »
23 MILLION FEWER INSURED IN 2026
Congressional Budget Office Scores House Trumpcare Bill
44 minutes ago
BREAKING

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.

Source:
GOP DISCORD
Graham Rejects Trump’s Budget In Hearing
44 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is little more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.

Source:
PREFERS “CLEAN” BILL
Mnuchin Looks To Avoid Debt Ceiling Fight
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS
“THAT’S THE GOAL”
McConnell Not Sure How To Get 50 Votes For Health Care
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.

Source:
BUT WHITE HOUSE MAY USE AGAINST HIM ANYWAY
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login