Tags: Healthcare Reform | Polls | Obamacare | enrollment | uninsured | health care

Kaiser: 89 Percent of Uninsured Don't Know to Sign Up for Obamacare

By    |   Tuesday, 21 October 2014 02:03 PM

Obamacare administrators, attempting to nearly double the number of people registered, are promising a better sign-up experience for the plan's second annual enrollment period that opens in November — but the question remains, is anybody interested?

A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll of uninsured people has found that 89 percent have no idea that the new open enrollment period is approaching, and two-thirds of those surveyed knew "only a little" or "nothing at all" about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite massive attempts by the administration and insurance industry to publicize it, The New York Times reports.

New enrollees have between Nov. 15 and Feb. 15 to sign up for Obamacare or they'll have to wait another year.

Mollyann Brodie, who conducted the Kaiser study, told the Times, "Having just no idea it’s coming — that’s pretty surprising at this point. You’d think there’s just been so much attention and effort put out there."

The survey flies in the face of predictions by Kevin Counihan, the new chief executive officer of healthcare.gov, who told Bloomberg News that changes to the plan's website will create "raving fans." Last year's experience was otherwise: The website crashed and took nearly two months to get up and running again.

While 7.3 million people are enrolled in Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 13 million will be covered by the end of the approaching enrollment period, Bloomberg reports.

The Kaiser study states, "On the heels of the election is the start of the ACA’s second open enrollment period on November 15th, and, at this point, one key target — the uninsured — are not yet tuned in.

"About 9 in 10 of the uninsured are unaware of when the next open enrollment period begins. Just over half are unaware of financial assistance available to help low and moderate income people purchase insurance."

"Most Americans (56 percent) say the health care law has had no direct impact on their families. For those who report being impacted, more say the law has hurt them (26 percent) than say it has helped them (16 percent)," the survey concludes.

Among the uninsured, nearly half have had no insurance for at least two years, and a third identified as Hispanic, with 17 percent asking to take the survey in Spanish.

Some survey respondents say they will not enroll because they believe they cannot afford it or resent being forced to enroll or face a fine.

The survey states, "Eighteen percent say they will remain uninsured because they don’t think they will be able to find an affordable plan ... while another 12 percent say they don’t think they will get insurance because they don’t want to be forced to buy anything (including 3 percent who say they would rather pay the fine than pay for coverage)."

Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, an industry group encouraging enrollment, told the Times, "Those who remain uninsured are likely fundamentally harder to reach than those who enrolled in the first enrollment period."

The Washington Post referred to Filipic in 2013 as "the woman tasked with selling Obamacare."

Counihan told Bloomberg News he had no projected estimate for the second enrollment period. "I really don’t know what success is. The focus is very much on keeping who we have and keeping them happy."

The Kaiser poll was conducted between Oct. 8-14 of 1,503 people, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Obamacare administrators are promising a better sign-up experience for the plan's second annual enrollment period that opens in November, but a new study raises the question — is anybody interested?
Obamacare, enrollment, uninsured, health care
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 02:03 PM
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