Obamacare Grace Period Brings Added Confusion
One-third of Americans who don't have insurance do not plan to purchase any despite the Affordable Care Act's requirement that they obtain health insurance or pay a fine, according to a recent Bankrate.com report.
With the clock winding down, the administration has implemented a "grace period" for the Affordable Care Act to give consumers another opportunity to sign up.
While 41% of the uninsured respondents who plan to stay uninsured are choosing to do so because they think health insurance is too costly, a whopping 70% of uninsured Americans don't know about the subsidies available to reduce the cost of health insurance.
"This is a staggeringly high percentage," said Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. "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."
"It is still disturbing that people still know so little," he said. "Health insurance is such a complicated topic to begin with. It doesn't surprise me that people are still confused."
While 66% of uninsured 18-29 year-olds say they will sign up for health insurance this month, another 28% say they will stay uninsured. Of those that will stay uninsured, 31% say they will do so because they are healthy and do not need health insurance.
Many consumers still mistakenly believe that missing the March 31 deadline equates to just paying a $95 penalty, said Carrie McLean, director of customer care at eHealth.com, an online health insurance exchange based in Mountain View, Calif. "We're finding from consumers calling into our customer care center that they don't understand what the March 31 deadline really means."
After March 31, consumers cannot purchase health coverage on their own until 2015 unless they have a qualifying event like marriage, the birth of a child or the loss of employer coverage.
For most consumers, the penalty will be a lot higher than $95 because the federal law states that it is $95 per adult or 1% of your income, whichever is greater. If you are earning $50,000 per year, your tax penalty could be $500, McLean said.
Respondents between the ages of 30 and 49 are the most likely to remain uninsured with 39% who plan to continue going without health insurance. Almost half in that age group who won't get insured or 47% cite cost as the biggest factor.
Consumers who are worried about the expense of health insurance need to find out information about how much premiums cost before they opt out of enrolling, she said. eHealth's Price Index reports average monthly premiums for individuals and families on a nationwide and state basis and can give you an estimate of what other people are paying for coverage by clicking here -