Although open enrollment for 2015 Obamacare plans opens in just over three weeks, the uninsured remain unclear about the dates and possible financial assistance available.
Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) of the uninsured surveyed by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation were unaware of when the next open enrollment period begins, including 76% who say they dont know and 13% who suggested a time other than November 2014, the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found. Open enrollment for 2015 plans opens on Nov. 15, 2014.
The results from the poll match what Enroll America, a pro-ACA national enrollment group, has found. The remaining uninsured face a significant information gap and lack the facts they need about the health care options available under Affordable Care Act, says Enroll America spokeswoman Jessica McCarron. Since the dates of this open enrollment period are different, weve known all along that there will be some confusion.
Uninsured Americans are not necessarily looking into the information out there about options available for coverage, says Liz Hammel, Kaisers director of public opinion and survey research. They tend to be low income and have lots of things going on in their lives, including paying bills and putting food on the table, she explains.
While it is concerning that most dont know about open enrollment, I wouldnt say it is surprising because [this] group is harder to reach, she adds.
McCarron points out that halfway through the first open enrollment, many uninsured consumers remained unclear about the law but as the deadline approached demand increased dramatically.
Because we expect a similar pattern this year, there will be a significant uptick in engagement as we approach November 15, accelerating up until the February 15 deadline, she adds.
Hammel says that those groups that work on reaching this population, including Enroll America, knew this group of uninsured would be harder to reach for year two than those who were enthusiastic about coverage and signed up during 2014 open enrollment. Those who remain uninsured will remain hardest to reach, she says. The lowest hanging fruit was already picked last year.
While harder to reach, they may not be harder to convince, McCarron explains. Forty-two percent of the remaining uninsured say they plan to enroll during the next open enrollment period, and most of the rest are still considering, she explains. So for this open enrollment period, [Enroll America is] taking what we learned and doubling down on the most effective tactics to reach the remaining uninsured with a more efficient campaign.
Of those uninsured, the Kaiser study found two-thirds (66%) say they know only a little or nothing at all about the marketplaces and 53% are unaware of financial assistance available.
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