There's knowing what you have to do and then there's actually doing it. And the results of a new survey suggest the health-care reform law may be falling short on both accounts among the uninsured—the group Obamacare is designed to help the most.
The findings of the survey by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies suggest that Obamacare's goal of providing affordable health insurance to millions of Americans faces widespread inertia.
Although more of the survey's respondents knew about components of the law compared with a prior survey over the summer, not many of those polled are enrolling for coverage via the Obamacare exchanges even if they know that the law mandates nearly all people must have insurance by 2014.
"More Americans are informed and prepared for the March 31, 2014, mandatory health coverage date, but a significant number have yet to actually sign up for health insurance in the exchanges or the traditional insurance market," said Hector De La Torre, executive director of the center, whose online poll of 1,000 adults under the age of 64 was conducted last month by Harris Interactive.
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"The uninsured continue to be the least active, which could be because they feel the least prepared and also are the least satisfied with the health-care system," said De La Torre, whose center is a division of the Transamerica Institute, a nonprofit foundation focused on research and education about health and retirement issues facing the public. "With the deadline to purchase coverage approaching, the great unknown is what the uninsured will do."
The questions surrounding what uninsured people will do are crucial because that is the group the new, government-run Obamacare exchanges were specifically designed to target. And those exchanges are the only place that tax subsidies are available to offset the cost of coverage for people whose incomes qualify them.