Less than 40 percent of the uninsured population will get health insurance this year, despite the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that says they have to.
That estimate comes from a survey released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.
Researchers said many of these uninsured adults are likely to go without insurance because they wrongly believe they neither qualify for subsidies to buy insurance through the exchanges, nor are eligible for Medicaid.
According to the survey data, only 31 percent of uninsured adults eligible for Medicaid think they’re eligible, and 35 percent of uninsured adults who qualify for subsidies know this. Researchers said that if “efforts are made to raise awareness of Medicaid and subsidy eligibility among those who qualify, the number of uninsured adults who gain coverage in 2014 could significantly increase.”
Only about four in 10 survey respondents who anticipated staying uninsured thought they would have to pay a penalty due to the law’s individual mandate.
“The survey respondents’ relative lack of knowledge about the availability of free or subsidized health insurance illustrates the need for increased outreach,” said Katherine Hempstead, who leads coverage issues at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Increased outreach has been a common theme for the law in recent weeks. Previous research has showed that education on the law still remains low, despite mobilization efforts. Earlier this month, a survey from Enroll America — a nonprofit formed in 2011 to get the word out about PPACA — found that awareness over the subsidies and the law in general is still hindering the law’s success.
Gallup this week reported that the uninsured rate hit a two-year low, possibly signaling the decline was attributable to PPACA’s mandate.