Most uninsured unaware of breaks for health care

WASHINGTON (MCT) — Supporters of health care reform say news coverage of HealthCare.gov’s early technical problems hurt efforts to inform the uninsured about financial assistance to help them purchase coverage.

With less than three months before the Affordable Care Act’s six-month open enrollment period ends on March 31, a whopping 69 percent of uninsured Americans don’t know about the tax credits and other assistance that will make coverage more affordable, according to a new survey of the uninsured released Thursday by Enroll America, a national coalition working on behalf of health care reform.

That helps explain why 68 percent of survey respondents haven’t visited their state marketplace or HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange portal that serves 36 states. They simply don’t believe they can afford coverage.

“So if you know from experience that health insurance is not affordable and you don’t know that the law has changed that for you, you’re just a little stuck,” said Tresa Undem, a partner at PerryUndem, the public opinion research firm that conducted the national phone survey of 910 people. “The mentality is like, ‘If I can’t afford shoes, I don’t go shoe shopping.’ ”

Enrollment picked up in December and more than 2 million Americans have purchased coverage, but the Obama administration is far from reaching its goal of enrolling 7 million people into coverage by March 31.

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MCT Information Services