A Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll conducted in March 2013 revealed that the majority of U.S. residents still don’t understand how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will impact them. The following stats are alarming given the intent of the health law is to increase the quality and availability of health insurance coverage for Americans.
Since the law was signed into act in 2010, several provisions of the ACA have gone into effect and many are still on the horizon, such as the individual mandate, which requires that most individuals (with some exceptions) obtain insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
When asked “Do you feel you have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will impact you personally”:
- 57 percent answered no, they do not have enough information
- 41 percent answered yes, they have enough information
Perhaps even more alarming is that of the sampled population, two-thirds of the uninsured (under age 65) and low-income (total household income under $40,000) said they don’t understand how the health reform law will impact them. It’s arguable that both of these segments have the most to gain and lose from the new health law; therefore, getting them to fully understand the implications of the ACA is a priority for the government. Aside from the risk of penalty for the uninsured starting in 2014, there are also premium tax credits and subsidies available that are meant to assist low-income individuals in paying for health insurance.
The Obama Administration has communicated that educating the public is key to successful implementation of the ACA, but the challenge still lies ahead. Whether or not the government’s efforts to educate were effective is to be seen further when statewide health exchanges open this October.