When Consumers Know They Could Get Financial Help, They’re More Likely To Say They’ll Get Covered

By William Tomasko

A few weeks ago, we released survey results on what the uninsured were thinking and hearing halfway through open enrollment. We found that it’s lack of awareness of financial help — not website glitches — that has kept many consumers from exploring their new options on the health insurance marketplaces.

That’s why we’ve been focusing on making sure consumers know about the financial help that could be available to them, which includes getting the word out about our Get Covered Calculator so individuals can estimate what they are likely to pay for coverage once their financial help options have been factored in.

Similar to our findings, a new brief highlighting results from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey shows that when consumers know they are going to be eligible for financial help, they are much more likely to say they expect to get covered in 2014:

More than a third (35.7 percent) of uninsured adults with incomes between 138 and 400 percent of FPL anticipated being eligible for subsidized coverage in the Marketplaces (figure 2). The proportion of the target income group for Marketplace subsidies that expected to gain coverage was substantially higher for adults who anticipated subsidy eligibility than for adults who did not(62.9 percent versus 36.6 percent; data not shown).

UI Brief Figure 2

It’s encouraging to see that nearly twice as many of the uninsured likely eligible for marketplace coverage say they’re going to get covered when they realize they qualify for tax credits!

Their findings for consumers who are eligible for Medicaid were similar:

Nearly a third (31.0 percent) of the adult Medicaid target population thought they would be eligible for Medicaid in 2014. In Medicaid-expansion states, surprisingly, only 32.4 percent of adults in the Medicaid target population thought they would be Medicaid-eligible, not significantly different from the share thinking so [respondents] in nonexpansion states (29.6 percent; see figure 1).Overall, 38.8 percent of the adult Medicaid target population anticipated gaining coverage in 2014, with those who thought they would be eligible for Medicaid were more likely to anticipate gaining coverage than those who did not (73.0 percent versus 22.8 percent; data not shown).

UI Brief Figure 1

The bottom line: Consumers are going to be more likely to sign up when they know about the financial help they’re eligible for. And that’s why our Get Covered America campaign is making sure consumers know their new, affordable options.

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