Many still confused about insurance exchanges

Many still confused about insurance exchanges
Many still confused about insurance exchanges

HealthDay News -- Much confusion still exists around health care insurance exchanges, which opened on Oct. 1 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), results of several polls suggest.

"Last minute polls about the opening of the health care exchanges show that the public is still confused by mixed messages about the ACA," according to an article in Medical Economics.

According to a poll from Kaiser Health Foundation, close to 70% of uninsured adults and more than half of insured adults reported not having enough information to make a decision about health care exchanges for themselves and their families.

Media reports about politics and real benefits of the ACA health care provision have served to further confuse people -- 53% of respondents reported not trusting any media sources regarding the ACA.

The majority of respondents (56%) said media coverage focus on politics and controversies, whereas very few (6%) said coverage has been mostly about how the law will impact people. A third say it's been a balance of the practical and the political.

Similarly, when it comes to advertising about the law, people are more likely to report seeing ads that are opposed to the law (31%) or in favor of it (24%), rather than those that provide information about how to get coverage (17%).

Despite confusion, many still plan to sign up for insurance exchanges between October and December. In a separate Gallup poll, although only 37% were familiar with health insurance exchanges, 65% reported that they would rather get insurance than face being fined.

Among the uninsured, awareness of the individual mandate increased, from 56% in June to 69% in the most recent poll. This was in part due to the efforts of the Obama administration to educate the uninsured about the ACA via the marketing campaign deployed during the summer. These efforts, together with state-funded advertising cost about $684 million, according to the Associated Press.

The Kaiser Health Foundation survey involved a nationally representative sample of 1,503 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older selected by random digit dial from Sept. 12-18, 2013.

Gallup poll results were based on responses from a random sample of 5,099 U.S. adults interviewed via telephone from Sept. 17-26, 2013.

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