Friday, September 2, 2011

Half of uninsureds unaware of health reform provisions designed to help them

Think that health reform won’t affect you? If so, you’re not alone, according to a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). In the August 2011 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, nearly half of the uninsured do not expect to be affected at all by the health reform legislation, in either a positive or a negative way. This is true despite estimates that about 32 million people will gain coverage under the law.

Approximately half of the 50.7 million uninsured people in the U.S. are aware of the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would make health care coverage easier to get and more affordable, according to recent research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that only 52 percent of the uninsured are aware that the ACA will provide subsidies to help those with low and moderate incomes without health insurance purchase it, and 47 percent are aware that Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income adults. In addition, 51 percent of the uninsured said they were aware of the individual mandate in the ACA. Kaiser noted that, perhaps as a result of this lack of awareness, 47 percent of the uninsured do not expect to be affected in either a positive or a negative way by the ACA, while 31 percent believe that the ACA will help them when it comes to getting health care, and 14 percent expect that they could suffer under the law.

Other findings. When it comes to the ACA as a whole, the August poll found no major shift in national public opinion, Kaiser noted. Currently, 39 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the ACA, 44 percent hold an unfavorable view, and 17 percent do not know enough to say. However, Kaiser did find that 66 percent of Americans are positive about the new rule that requires insurers to cover the full cost of birth control and other preventive health services for women. Only 24 percent of surveyed respondents oppose the new rule.

Further, according to the Kaiser survey, only 27 percent of individuals with insurance provided through their employer said they would accept a more restricted list of doctors and hospitals in their networks, according to the poll. Less than a third of those polled were willing to pay more for brand name drugs or pay higher deductibles in return for lower premiums.


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