Many Americans haven't checked out health insurance marketplaces - 8 News NOW

Many Americans haven't checked out health insurance marketplaces

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Stefan Klein © iStockphoto.com / Stefan Klein

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- 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 health insurance 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 health care coverage 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 financial assistance 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 health insurance coverage 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 coverage 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 survey of 910 uninsured adults, aged 18 to 64, was conducted between December 12 and 22.

More information

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

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Paula's Health NotesLas Vegas Health NewsMore>>

  • Fixing gerd for good

    Fixing gerd for good

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 3:21 PM EDT2014-08-19 19:21:39 GMT
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
    Acid reflux disease, a condition commonly known as “GERD”, affects about one-third of Americans. It can cause pain, coughing, heartburn and can even lead to cancer. Now, a simple procedure may fix GERD for good.More>>
  • Ice cold heart therapy

    Ice cold heart therapy

    Friday, August 15 2014 5:05 PM EDT2014-08-15 21:05:13 GMT
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
    A trial fibrillation affects about 2.7 million Americans. It's a condition that causes heart palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening. Now doctors are freezing the problem away.More>>
  • Pets Help Cancer Patients: Swoosh on the job!

    Pets Help Cancer Patients: Swoosh on the job!

    Friday, August 8 2014 3:42 PM EDT2014-08-08 19:42:16 GMT
    More than 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of these kids have to endure painful treatments that trigger stress, anxiety and depression.More>>
    More than 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of these kids have to endure painful treatments that trigger stress, anxiety and depression.More>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.