The Affordable Care Act's coverage mandate is just months away from going into effect, and while most Americans are fully aware of what's required of them under the legislation, this is not necessarily the case with those lacking insurance.
While 81 percent of all consumers say they are aware of their need to have some sort of healthcare coverage at the start of next year, there is still a disconnect with regard to those who do not currently have any insurance, according to a new poll from Gallup. At the same time, just 14 percent of the insured were not aware of this requirement, 43 percent of those who were not covered responded similarly, which could pose a real problem for consumers and employers alike.
Interestingly, 65 percent of uninsured Americans say they are at least somewhat familiar with the law, but that's still down significantly from the three-quarters of those with insurance who responded similarly, the report said. In addition, 15 percent of the uninsured group says they're not at all familiar with the law, compared with just 5 percent of those who are insured. Perhaps not surprisingly, familiarity was lacking for some 38 percent of lower-income consumers compared to only 11 percent of those in the highest brackets.
Those currently uninsured largely say the reason they don't have insurance is that it costs too much, with more than two in five responding in this way, the report said. The next-largest group, accounting for less than a quarter of those polled, say it's because they're currently out of work, while 8 percent say their jobs don't provide it, and 2 percent say they're self-employed. Another 9 percent say they just haven't gotten around to obtaining coverage and know they need to do so soon, but 7 percent say they don't need it because they're healthy in general and aren't sick often enough to justify the cost.
The participation of young, healthy people in the ACA's mandated exchanges has often been called crucial to the success of the law in general. Getting these people insured either individually or through their employers will be of the utmost importance beginning in October.