Although 39% of U.S. consumers say they are “somewhat knowledgeable” about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 90% don’t know the launch date of the new health insurance exchanges — a core tenet of the individual mandate requiring all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a fine, according to a survey released this week by InsuranceQuotes.com.
A major component of Obamacare, the exchanges, which allow individuals to compare and buy health insurance policies, will be available for online and telephone enrollments beginning Oct. 1. Coverage will begin on Jan. 1.
In total, 28% of Americans say they are not too knowledgeable about the PPACA; 21% say they are not at all knowledgeable, and only 10% say they are very knowledgeable.
In general, consumers’ knowledge of the details of the PPACA is mixed. For example:
- 40% expect health care reform to have a major effect on their lives, while 39% forecast a minor effect and 19% expect no effect
- 73% knew that health plans cannot deny coverage based on preexisting health conditions
- 66% accurately said that health plans must extend coverage to dependent children up to age 26
- Less than half know that health plans must limit the total amount of money patients have to pay out of pocket each year and that health plans cannot place limits on the total dollar value of benefits that patients receive.
The survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Assocs. International, was conducted by phone with more than 1,000 U.S. adults. The complete study is available at http://www.insurancequotes.com/health-care-reform-law
This “inconsistent understanding” means that “a lot of people need to study up on health care reform and what it means to them”—and also presents a unique opportunity for knowledgeable independent insurance agents and brokers to lend a hand, said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst, InsuranceQuotes.com.