Americans Lack Awareness of ACA

The Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges launched Tuesday and despite the Obama Administration's dedication to bringing awareness about them, less than half of adults actually are.

The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges launched Tuesday and despite the Obama administration’s dedication to bringing awareness about them, less than half of adults actually are.

A survey from The Commonwealth Fund found that just before the insurance exchanges opened for enrollment, only 40% of American adults knew that the exchanges were opening on Oct. 1 and about the tax subsidies.

The survey also found that the people who are the main target of the exchanges were less likely to be aware of them. Only a third of people without health coverage during the last year knew about the exchanges compared to 43% of people with coverage. The numbers were roughly the same on the subject of the subsidies available.

“State and federal efforts to educate people about the marketplaces during the six-month enrollment period beginning in October need to be intensive enough to help close the information gaps this survey highlights,” Sara Collins, PhD, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Young adults reported that they are less likely to use the marketplaces. While 55% of those between the ages of 19 and 29 who are potentially eligible for coverage said they are very or somewhat likely to use the marketplaces, 65% of those ages 30 to 39 said the same.

Naturally, adults with health problems were slightly more likely to say they would use the exchanges than adults with no health problems (65% compared to 57%). However, less than half (47%) knew that health insurance carriers are banned from denying coverage to people with a preexisting condition, from charging them more money or from refusing to cover a condition in their policy.

“These survey findings demonstrate that people who need the health insurance coverage the marketplaces will offer want to shop for plans and find out if they are eligible for financial help,” Sara Collins said. “However, more work needs to be done to ensure that people who may be eligible are aware of the marketplaces and the subsidies.”