Study: Uninsured Not Signing Up for Obamacare

Friday, 07 Mar 2014 08:00 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Obamacare is failing in its No. 1 one goal of giving healthcare coverage to the uninsured, according to a new poll.

The new survey by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm says that only 27 percent of people who enrolled in the exchanges in February didn’t previously have insurance.

The White House has revealed that 4 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act since it was launched in October.

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But, according to The Hill, a leading official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has admitted that it was impossible to keep data on how many of those were previously uninsured.

The 4-million figure includes a small percentage of the number of people who may have obtained coverage for the first time. The Obama administration said this month that 9 million have joined Medicaid since October, but it is not known how many of them are previously uninsured, The Hill reported.

A study by Avalere Health, a Washington-based healthcare consulting firm, estimated that 2.4 million to 3.5 million of the Obamacare enrollees may be receiving Medicaid, The Hill said.

The figures released by the government have often shown an inflated view of Obamacare because they include people who have enrolled and not paid their first premium.

McKinsey found in its February report that about 25 percent of people who had signed up for Obamacare had not paid their premium.

The survey also revealed that 50 percent of the previously insured and previously uninsured who have not yet enrolled in the exchanges blamed the cost of Obamacare for not doing so.

The study also found that 80 percent of those who said the cost was the reason are eligible for subsidies. But 66 percent of them were not even aware of their subsidy eligibility.

The Hill also said that the Obamacare target groups do not know about their healthcare options in the exchanges.

A study by the Urban Institute found that young people and the poor who are likely to be eligible for payment subsidies are less aware about the exchanges than older, insured and wealthier groups.

The survey found that 22 percent of people aged 18-34 had not even heard about the marketplaces compared to 16 percent for 35-49-year-olds, and 11 percent of 50-64-year-olds.

Also, 27 percent of people in the lowest income bracket are unaware of the exchanges, as opposed to 15 percent and 11 percent in the two higher brackets, according to the study.

The Obama administration has maintained that it needs to sign up young and healthy Americans to keep the premium down for older and less-abled citizens.

In February, the White House said about 25 percent of enrollees were aged 18-34, but analysts have said that the government needs more like 40 percent to keep premiums down, The Hill added.

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