U.S. Markets closed

'Staggeringly High' Percentage Of Uninsured Americans Unaware Of Available Subsides

Bruce Kennedy

An important healthcare deadline is fast approaching, but many Americans appear to be either unconcerned or in the dark about how that deadline can and will affect them.

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, ends March 31. And people who haven't signed up for heath coverage by then might face a financial penalty. But according to a new survey by Bankrate (NYSE: RATE), about one-third of uninsured Americans say they'll remain uninsured.

The poll, a telephone survey of more than 3,000 Americans, found 34 percent of respondents plan to continue without health coverage. When asked why, 41 percent of those polled said health insurance was too expensive – while 17 percent said they opposed Obamacare and another 13 percent said they were healthy and didn't need such coverage.

56 percent of the uninsured people surveyed said the did plan to get health coverage under ACA. But 70 percent of those polled didn't know about subsidies available to them, to reduce the cost of health insurance.

“This is a staggeringly high percentage,” Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman said in a press statement. “The government has spent over half a billion dollars promoting the Affordable Care Act and more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans still don’t know about the subsidies. Plus, fewer than half (48%) know that the enrollment deadline is in two weeks.”

Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute, believes the Obama Administration's campaign has focused too much on the benefits of the ACA, rather than any punitive tax penalties.

"They found in Massachusetts, with 'RomneyCare' that the individual mandate penalty absolutely motivated a lot of people to purchase insurance," she Corlette told Bankrate.com. "The Obama Administration understandably tried to emphasize the positive, but people need to understand that the mandate is not insignificant -- they could be hit with a big tax bill if they don't buy coverage."

Related Links

© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.