As open enrollment for new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) winds down, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows that six out of ten people who don’t have health insurance don’t know that they have to sign up for coverage by March 31. When reminded of the deadline and the fine for not being covered, half of those who didn’t have insurance as of mid-March say they plan to stay uninsured. Also, 40% of the uninsured still don’t know about the subsidies in the law that help low-income Americans buy coverage, and 50% don’t know about how the law expanded Medicaid. The general public’s opinion of the ACA has moved in a more positive direction this month. This is the first time since the rollout of the law in November, when people’s opinions changed for the worse. Even though more people still don’t like the law than like it, the difference between the two is now only eight percentage points, down from 16 percentage points in January. Four years after the ACA was passed, a little more than half of the public says they are tired of hearing about the national debate over the law and want the country to focus on other things. However, four in ten say it’s important for the debate to continue. At the same time, six in ten want Congress to keep the law in place and either leave it as is or work to make it better, while three in ten want it either repealed and replaced with a Republican alternative or repealed and not replaced.
Most uninsured people don’t know about the March 31 deadline, and half of them plan to stay uninsured.
In the last few days of open enrollment for new health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act, many uninsured people still don’t know about the law’s individual mandate or the deadline to sign up for coverage. As of the middle of March, a third of the people who did not have health insurance did not know that the law requires almost all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. When it comes to the details, only about 40% of the uninsured know that the deadline to sign up for coverage is at the end of March. This means that about 60% of the uninsured do not know that the deadline is at the end of March.
When reminded of the mandate and the deadline, half of those without coverage as of mid-March say they think they will stay uninsured, while four in ten think they will get coverage and one in ten isn’t sure.
33 percent of people who don’t have health insurance say they’ve tried to get it in the past six months. Of these, 18 percent tried to get it through a health insurance marketplace, 14 percent through Medicaid, and 13 percent directly from a private insurance company. Still, most of them, 67 percent, say they haven’t tried to get coverage.
Some uninsured people say they are trying to get coverage through the ACA’s new options. However, many uninsured people still don’t know about two key parts of the law that could help them get coverage. About half of the uninsured don’t know that the ACA gives states the option of expanding their Medicaid programmes, and more than four in ten don’t know that it helps low- and middle-income people buy coverage by giving them money. Even though there have been many campaigns in the media and in real life to get them to sign up, only 11% of the uninsured say they have been personally contacted about the health care law by phone, email, text message, or door-to-door visit.