New Survey Results: It’s Lack of Awareness of Financial Help — Not Website Problems — That Has Kept Many Consumers From Getting Covered

By William Tomasko

This morning, we released the results of a national survey that offers a snapshot of what uninsured consumers are hearing and thinking halfway through this first open enrollment period.

Conducted by PerryUndem, a research firm with extensive health sector experience, the survey results put the spotlight on a huge opportunity for our outreach going forward: making consumers aware of the financial help available to them through the Marketplace may be the key to boosting enrollment. The survey suggests that it is this lack of awareness — not website problems with Health Insurance Marketplaces — that is the main barrier to more consumers signing up for coverage.

PerryUndem interviewed more than 900 uninsured adults in December and found that despite the intense media focus on website problems, the vast majority of the uninsured haven’t visited their state’s Marketplace site yet and were therefore unaffected. Only 14 percent of uninsured adults have visited a Marketplace site and experienced glitches. Moreover, 92 percent of those who faced technical problems were undeterred and plan to try to get covered again — or have tried already.

Percent of consumers who have visited ACA Marketplace

Most uninsured adults (69 percent) say they don’t have coverage because they can’t afford it, and 82 percent would be likely to sign up for a quality health insurance plan if it fit their budget. And the most common reason consumers cited for not having visited their Marketplace already is that they think they won’t be able to afford coverage through it. Yet the majority of the uninsured (again, 69 percent) don’t realize that financial help is available through the Marketplace.

Why haven't consumers gone to the website yet?

That’s where we come in. We’re announcing a staffing surge for our Get Covered America campaign. We’ve hired 58 new organizers — a 30 percent increase in capacity — across the country to help even more consumers know about the financial help that could be available to them. Some of the organizers will allow the campaign to expand into previously untouched areas, while others will expand outreach capacity in places with high-density uninsured population.

As we talk directly to consumers going forward, we will be emphasizing information on financial help and pointing them to our Get Covered Calculator, which uses the most up-to-date data available to estimate the savings they could be eligible for: www.getcoveredamerica.org/calculator.

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