Many Americans haven't checked out health insurance marketplaces

January 10, 2014 by Karen Pallarito, Healthday Reporter
Many americans haven't checked out health insurance marketplaces
New surveys show lack of awareness of financial assistance for mandated coverage.

(HealthDay)—Despite a rush to enroll in December, many Americans who may be eligible for health insurance through the new state and federal marketplaces haven't shopped for coverage, a new survey shows.

About 24 percent of eligible adults checked out the marketplaces by the end of December, up from 17 percent in October, a survey from The Commonwealth Fund found.

Forty-one percent of those visitors were young adults, aged 19 to 34, a demographic considered key to the long-term success of the marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.

Still, that means three of every four people who may be eligible for coverage stayed on the sidelines.

"We don't know why they didn't visit," said study author Sara Collins, vice president for and access at The Commonwealth Fund.

Technical difficulties with the federal HealthCare.gov website "turned out to be a problem," Collins acknowledged. But another potential factor is simply lack of awareness, particularly among poor individuals.

Just 61 percent of lower-income adults—those who make $28,725 as an individual or $58,875 for a family of four—were aware of the marketplaces, also known as exchanges, in December. And only half (52 percent) were aware of the available to help pay for coverage.

By contrast, 77 percent of people with incomes above 250 percent of the poverty level were aware of the marketplaces, and 72 percent were aware of the financial help that may be available to them.

"What it does underscore is really the need for outreach efforts on the part of both federal and state exchanges and governments to make sure that people are aware of what they're eligible for," Collins said.

Consumers have until March 31 to enroll in marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and the survey points to signs that many people will need help doing so.

By December, more people found it easier to determine what their premium costs would be and what benefits would be covered. "But you still see people, a lot of people, having difficulty figuring out what their out-of-pocket responsibilities are going to be," she noted.

Also, greater percentages of people in December versus October reported difficulties finding a plan with the type of coverage they need and a plan they could afford.

Still, 59 percent said they were likely to try to enroll in a plan or find out if they are eligible for financial assistance by March 31.

The Commonwealth Fund survey, the second in a series aimed at tracking Americans' experiences with the marketplaces, is based on a national survey of 622 adults aged 19 to 64 conducted between Dec. 11 and 29. The survey included people who are uninsured or who purchased on the individual market or through the new marketplaces.

Separately, poll results released Thursday by Enroll America, a coalition formed to aid the enrollment effort, found consumers' lack of awareness of financial assistance is the main barrier to enrollment—not technical problems with HealthCare.gov.

Most (68 percent) have not visited their marketplace, and 69 percent do not know about financial help that might make more affordable, the survey found.

In response, Enroll America said it has added 58 staff members in 11 target states to train more volunteers who will help with outreach to the uninsured.

That nationwide of 910 uninsured adults, aged 18 to 64, was conducted between Dec. 12 and 22.

Explore further: Three of four are aware of ACA individual mandate; only four of ten aware of marketplaces, subsidies

More information: Visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more on the Affordable Care Act.

Related Stories

Three of four are aware of ACA individual mandate; only four of ten aware of marketplaces, subsidies

September 30, 2013
As the key components of the Affordable Care Act roll out this week, more than three-quarters (76%) of U.S. adults are aware of the law's individual mandate, while only four of 10 are aware of the new health insurance marketplaces ...

New survey of young adults: 7.8 million gained new or better coverage through Affordable Care Act

August 21, 2013
An estimated 7.8 million of the 15 million young adults who were enrolled in a parent's health plan last year likely would not have been eligible for this coverage without the health reform law's dependent coverage provision, ...

'Obamacare' helping young adults get health insurance: report

December 11, 2013
(HealthDay)—More young adults have health insurance now than three years ago. And many of them are getting that coverage under a provision of the Affordable Care Act that allows them to stay on their parents' health policies ...

Curtain rises Wednesday on 'Obamacare'

December 31, 2013
(HealthDay)—It survived a U.S. Supreme Court challenge, multiple repeal attempts, delays of key provisions and a disastrous rollout, and now the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," marks a major milestone.

Health care enrollments fall far short of white house estimates

November 14, 2013
(HealthDay)—The Obama administration late Wednesday released a report revealing a disappointing number of health plan enrollments through the new federal and state insurance exchanges. Just over 106,000 Americans enrolled ...

ACA brings legal immigrants opportunities as well as responsibilities

December 16, 2013
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not expand access to health insurance for undocumented immigrants but may pave the way for many legal immigrants who have trouble obtaining this crucial coverage, concludes a report released ...

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kienhoa68
5 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2014
Why is there a limit for enrolling in a national health care plan? Somehow does not make sense.
bearly
not rated yet Jan 11, 2014
The main problem is that most Americans cannot afford the unAffordable Care Act.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.