As the key components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) roll out this week, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of U.S. adults are aware of the law's individual mandate, while only four of 10 are aware of the new health insurance marketplaces opening on October 1, or the financial assistance that is available to help people with low or moderate incomes pay their health insurance premiums, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. It also finds broad support for expanding Medicaid in all states, with 68 percent of adults saying they are somewhat or strongly in favor of making Medicaid available to more residents in their state.
The Commonwealth Fund Health Insurance Marketplace Survey, conducted between July and September of this year found that the people most likely to benefit from the health insurance marketplaces and premium subsidies are often least likely to be aware of them. According to the report based on the survey, “What Americans Think of the New Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid Expansion”:
- Only 32 percent of people without health coverage during the past year are aware of the marketplaces, compared to 43 percent of people with coverage all year.
- Thirty-one percent of people without coverage during the year are aware of the subsidies that are available, compared to 43 percent of those insured all year.
- Just under one-third (32 percent) of adults with incomes under 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($28,725 for an individual and $58,875 for a family) are aware of the subsidies, compared to 47 percent of those with higher incomes.
State and federal efforts to educate people about the marketplaces during the six-month enrollment period beginning in October need to be intensive enough to help close the information gaps this survey highlights, according to Sara Collins, Ph.D., Commonwealth Fund vice president and lead author of the study.