Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Tracking the Uninsured Before and After ACA

Today is the first day of a new relationship between Americans and their health insurance. From now on, every American will be able to obtain health insurance and will be required to have it. How will the uninsured react to the Affordable Care Act, whose open enrollment period begins today? Thanks to the efforts of the Kaiser Family Foundation, we will know the answer.

Last summer, Kaiser fielded a baseline survey of a representative sample of uninsured 19-to-64-year-olds in the nation's most populous state, California. Kaiser plans to field three subsequent waves of the survey in 2014 and 2015, tracking the attitudes and behavior of the uninsured as they make their choices (or not) regarding health insurance.

So what were California's uninsured thinking in the summer of 2013, before health insurance became available to them? Eight out of ten believed they needed health insurance, and most also believed health insurance was worth the money. Most knew the Affordable Care Act would require them to obtain health insurance, and the 52 percent majority said they would get health insurance in 2014 as required. Of those who said they would not get health insurance, most thought it would be too expensive.

Stay tuned. In subsequent surveys we will find out how many of the uninsured bought health insurance, how they feel about the health insurance exchanges and the cost of insurance, and whether having health insurance has provided them with a greater sense of financial security.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, California's Uninsured on the Eve of ACA Open Enrollment

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