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Many uninsured plan to stay that way

In a new survey, most Americans say they know about the coming changes to health care, but many claim they don't care.

By Smart Spending Editor Sep 27, 2013 12:24PM

This post is from Barbara Marquand of partner site

MSN Money PartnerMost Americans know that the Affordable Care Act requires them to have health insurance in 2014, but only about half of those who are uninsured plan to have coverage by Jan. 1, according to a survey commissioned by

Portrait of a young woman, finger on lips © Pascal Broze, ONOKY, Getty ImagesIn the poll of 2,000 adults under age 65, 88% said they are aware of the individual mandate, the health care reform provision requiring most Americans to have coverage next year.

About 23% said they don't have health insurance now. Of those uninsured, almost one-third (32%) said they don't know whether they will have coverage by Jan. 1, and another 16% said they do not plan to have health insurance by then. Fifty-one percent said that they will buy health insurance.

Older adults and women less certain

Knowledge of the individual mandate varies by age and gender, as does the certainty about having coverage for next year. Among the survey findings:

  • Women are slightly more aware of the mandate than men -- 90% versus 85%, respectively.
  • Younger people are least informed about the mandate. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 79% said they are aware of the health insurance requirement, versus 89% of those between ages 30 and 49. Older adults are most aware of the mandate, with 93% of those ages 50 to 64 saying they know about the requirement.
  • But among the uninsured, a smaller portion of older adults plan to have coverage by Jan. 1 compared to young adults. Of uninsured 50- to 64-year-olds, just 45% said they will have health insurance by 2014, compared to 49% of respondents ages 40 to 49, 56% of 30 to 39-year-olds and 55% of 18- to 29-year-olds.
  • Uninsured men are more certain they will have coverage by Jan. 1 than women. Among uninsured men, 58% said they plan to have health insurance, compared to 44% of uninsured women. Thirty-nine percent of uninsured women said they don't know if they will have coverage, versus just 26% of uninsured men, and 16% of both uninsured women and men said they will not have coverage by Jan. 1.

Marketplace confusion

The survey results come as the new state and federally administered health insurance marketplaces, also called exchanges, prepare to open Oct. 1. Through the online marketplaces individuals can apply for government discounts and subsidies to help them afford health insurance, and they can compare and buy plans from participating private insurance companies. They can also see if they or their children qualify for government-funded health insurance programs -- Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Outside the marketplaces, consumers can get coverage through their employers or buy health plans directly from insurance companies or through health insurance agents or insurance websites.

Most people are aware that the law established new health insurance marketplaces, but almost half of the respondents don't understand how they will work. We asked people to rate their awareness on a scale of one to five, with five being high awareness. The poll found:

  • Sixty-eight percent said they have at least an average awareness of the marketplaces (rating themselves three or higher).
  • But in terms of understanding how the marketplaces will work in their states, 48% said they have little or no understanding (rating themselves a one or two on the scale).
  • Younger people are more confident in their understanding than older people. On the one-to-five scale, 18- to 29-year-olds, on average, rate their own understanding of the marketplaces at 2.9, while people ages 50 to 64 rate themselves, on average, at 2.25.

How will they get covered?

Of people who plan to buy or change health plans for 2014, about one in five plan to shop in the state health insurance marketplaces. Others will enroll at work, go on a spouse's or parent's plan or contact health insurance carriers directly. In addition some will work with health insurance agents or shop on websites selling plans from multiple health insurers.

Women are much more likely to rely on a spouse's coverage than men. Of insured women, 24% are on a spouse's work-based plan, compared to just 3% of insured men.

Meanwhile,  Americans are divided about whether the Affordable Care Act should be repealed -– and many simply don’t have an opinion. Forty-two percent said Congress should repeal it, and 37% said Congress should focus their efforts on implementing it. About 21% said they don't know.

Men are slightly more opposed to the Affordable Care Act than women, and women are more undecided than men. Among men, 44% said the law should be repealed, compared to 40% of women. Twenty-four percent of women said they don't know whether the law should be implemented or repealed, versus 18% of men.

Where will people who plan to buy or change plans get their health insurance for 2014?

  • Through work: 24%
  • State health insurance marketplace: 21%
  • Directly from health insurers outside the state marketplace: 14%
  • Health insurance agent: 14%
  • Website representing multiple health insurance carriers: 13%
  • Parent's plan: 8%
  • Spouse's workplace plan: 7%

Survey methodology commissioned Op4G to conduct an online-panel survey of 2,000 Americans age 18 to 64. Respondents were evenly split between men and women and also among age ranges. The survey was fielded in September 2013. related links:


Sep 27, 2013 2:24PM
You can't get coverage with no job and you can't buy coverage with no income.  I should turn into an illegal immigrants; then I'd probably get both a job and coverage.
Sep 27, 2013 2:15PM
"Younger people are least informed about the mandate."  Yet the vast majority of younger people helped put this idiot in office.
Sep 27, 2013 2:24PM
When I last had health insurance it was $500 a month with a $5000 yearly 'out of pocket' deductible before ANY payments from BC/BS. Eleven thousand dollars a year for a couple of $75 'doc in a box' visits that I had to pay for anyway?  I've been self insured for the past 13 years, and I like it just fine. 

Obamacare is just another re-distribution of wealth under the Communist's agenda.

Sep 27, 2013 2:22PM
It's been a while since the government found a new way to tax me. I was getting worried.  Glad to see they are back on the ball sucking off my income.
Sep 27, 2013 2:44PM

It has always been my philosophy that you take care of yourself. This mandate means but one thing to me, that now, by law, I must pay for the deadbeats, the illegals and the politicians.  I know someone is making lots of money from this deal and the American people have to pay for it.

I don't like it. Things like this were cause for the revolution in 1776. We're back to taxation without representation. We have a government, who cares not for the people and one that, I think, is pushing for another revolution. If they keep it up much longer they may just get it. Don't they wonder why people all over are going berserk? It's from the frustration caused by the government and all the weird drugs that are allowed, by the same government, to hit the market. The side effects are worse than what they attempt to cure.

Sep 27, 2013 2:01PM
For older Americans trying to buy individual coverage under Obamacare the premiums will simply be unaffordable - in excess of 15% of take home pay the first year. With double digit premium increases each year the norm that percentage will quickly reach 75% of take home pay. Clearly a train wreck in the making. 
Sep 27, 2013 2:18PM

When you're sick it doesn't matter what party you affiliate yourself with, so lets look at the facts as they pertain to Obamacare. It amazes me how little you armchair experts know about Obamacare. There will be a panel of 15 appointed bureaucrats called The Independent Payment Advisory Board, that aren't accountable to congress or any medical board, that will be making decisions on what treatment you will or will not receive, and their decision is FINAL. If you lose or change from existing coverage, you must purchase the new insurance. The word exchange isn't appropriate since what you are giving up is so much better than what you are getting. The way private insurance worked is medical treatment decisions were between you and your doctor, and if a treatment option was refused, your doctor had the right to arbitration on your behalf, it happens all the time with a favorable outcome in most cases. Under the new plans, this is out of the question. This isn't about access, it's about control and who pays. Oh, and by the way you can't offer to pay for a treatment out of pocket that is refused if your doctor's a provider for the new insurance, that's against the law. That same rule now applies to Medicare and Medicaid now that it too has been reformed. Medical tourism will be the only option for those who can afford it if a refusal is issued. Many Canadian's come to the US by way of medical tourism because they have life threatening conditions that are either taking too long to get treatment, or are just flat out refused. Your health is your biggest wealth and I want my doctor and myself to make the decisions!! 

It would be cheaper to just give 30 million people insurance than it cost for this stupid job killing bill that will ultimately ration care and lead to higher mortality rates.

Sep 27, 2013 2:37PM
Might have something to do with the fact that we don't trust our damn government and do not support obamacare yet are being forced.  I'd prefer to wait until someone sensible gets voted into office next election and gets rid of that trash once and for all.  Sorry Obama but your legacy is going to die.
Sep 27, 2013 3:41PM
Did anyone really expect anything different.  Obamacare will cost all of us more, and we will get far less in services.  Thanks, morons, who voted for Obama.  Even they will not escape the ill effects of this law.
Sep 27, 2013 3:00PM
The question was asked about the penalty..It is a fine of $95.00 or 1% of total income which ever is higher, and will administered by of course the IRS at tax time. I'll take the penalty and tell them to shove ObamaCare
Sep 27, 2013 2:39PM
I am not upset at the fact that a government healthcare system was put in place. I think it was probably inevitable. What disturbs me is what we got and how it was achieved. When the debate over this plan was occurring I watched a T.V. program that had, as its guests, two retired senators. One was a Republican, one a Democrat, and at least one if not both were retired doctors. Despite their differences, they were able to outline a common sense outline of a program that was practical and seemed promising. Where has all the sense in our elected officials gone? This bill, in an effort to make it acceptable to everyone politically, lost most of its common sense and usefulness.
Sep 27, 2013 2:36PM
I'd like to know exactly what the penalty will be. Like if it's close to what insurance might cost then it makes little sense to not pay for insurance. However,MANY Americans without insurance are barely getting by as it is,so what will this new cost actually be & how badly will it affect them? I know many who work hard & still can't afford things they should have,like decent food for their kids,a decent home,etc-even those who must find a way to get to their job because they can't afford the up-keep of owning vehicle.So,how is this plan going to affect them? Taking $ from people who have not a cent to spare seems kinda like 'cruel & unusual punishment',especially when it's mandated they pay for health care or be penalized. Some people go their entire adyult lives without seeing drs,etc simply because they can't afford the price of one visit,forget the price of FORCED insurance & penalties! Add that with this forced insurance there will be the added expense of CO-PAYS!
Sep 27, 2013 3:20PM
As a person in the 18-24 age group, I am aware of the Obamacare that is about to come into play. What I do not understand is how they think they can FORCE people to have health insurance. I am thankful that my small business employer offered to pay my health insurance premium when she hired me. If not for that, I would NOT be able to afford insurance.
What percentage knows they will be fined a penalty for not signing up? What percentage knows if they don't pay up, it's taken from their tax refund?
Sep 27, 2013 2:25PM
What percentage know they will have to cough up 100% of the cost up-front?  Those who qualify for subsidies don't get the money each month...they have to cough up the entire amount and then at tax time they get their subsidy "reimbursement".
Sep 27, 2013 3:34PM
Gee what a shocker...By the way the people not buying it? The people that do not get very sick. Which means the funding scheme for Obamacare is doomed to fail.
Sep 27, 2013 3:03PM
wouldn't it be nice if the federal government could mandate some good sh.., like no more tax dollars leave this country, bailout the people that got f..ked by the stock market, banks, insurance companies, commissions on social reform, some new agency that has full access to police the ones that seem to blatantly invade our privacy laws, some sort of mediation authority to force an end to ever heightening bi-partisan bickering. the system in place is an old system that needs to evolve towards improvement the best way possible or this awesome country founded on individual freedoms will become a shell of itself that our children and grandchildren inherit. change happens one way or another for better or worse. 
Sep 27, 2013 2:55PM
How exactly are they going to check if I have coverage or not?  Answer a check box on my tax return?
Sep 27, 2013 2:47PM
Ever hear of the new movie coming out called "Escape From Detroit"? It's about the walled off prison city of Detroit where people that refused to pay for Obamacare  are imprisoned that try to escape to another planet  in the future that doesn't require health insurance. In this story the government tries to stop them with any means possible to keep them imprisoned by the system.
Sep 27, 2013 8:24PM

Let's see. Forcing me to buy a product I neither want nor need and penalizing me for failing to comply.

Is this America in 2013 or Nazi Germany in 1942?

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