Two out of three uninsured people in the United States say they will purchase health insurance prior to January 1, 2014, rather than pay the penalty mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if they don’t.
A recent Gallup poll noted that while the majority of uninsured people plan on purchasing coverage, slightly less than half of uninsured people say they will do so through the federal and state health exchanges, with approximately 11 percent of those polled having no opinion, leaving experts to wonder where people are going to turn for their health coverage plans.
The research shows a positive number of people willing to partake in the benefits of health insurance coverage, but there is a surprising lack of awareness regarding Obamacare and how to purchase coverage, especially among those who will be affected the most: 18 to 29-year-olds and the uninsured.
“Overall, 66 percent of the uninsured who plan on getting health insurance rather than pay a fine say they will get insurance through an exchange, leaving the rest who apparently are unsure about how they will get their insurance, or who will seek insurance perhaps through their employer, through Medicare or Medicaid, or buy a plan on their own outside of an exchange,” stated the Gallup data.
Overall, as many as 83 percent of people in the United States are aware they must purchase health insurance or be subject to a penalty. That number drops to 68 percent among the uninsured, with 69 percent of individuals 18-29 years of age unaware of the fine they’d have to pay if they can but don’t purchase insurance.
Those numbers have improved slightly from Gallup’s poll earlier in 2013 which indicated only 57 percent of uninsured people knew about Obamacare penalties regarding health coverage.
Obamacare awareness among uninsured people
Gallup notes that knowledge of the ACA penalty doesn’t necessarily equate to knowledge about how to purchase health insurance.
Only 37 percent of polled participants understood what the health exchanges were, suggesting that the 34 percent of uninsured people who want insurance but say they will not use federal programs, may not fully understand how the system will work.
Other important findings regarding Obamacare awareness included:
- Approximately 51 percent of uninsured adults are not familiar with the health insurance exchanges.
- 35 percent of adults surveyed were not familiar with the health insurance exchanges.
- 18 to 29-year-olds were the least likely of the age demographics to be familiar with the health insurance exchanges.
- 17 percent of individuals have not decided if they will purchase health insurance yet or not.
- 50 to 64-year-olds are the most informed about the ACA penalty regarding health insurance.
The Gallup data also indicates some individuals still intend on paying the fine for failure to have insurance–possibly as many as one in four.
“You really want those healthy people to buy insurance if they’re not getting it through their employer,” said Stephen Shortell, former dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and professor of health policy, to InfoWars. “But a number of them will not, because they feel they won’t need it – the young, healthy ‘invincibles’ – and think it’s just much cheaper to pay the $95.”