By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI (Reuters) – Most uninsured adult Americans lack basic knowledge about President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law and haven’t visited their online insurance marketplace because they think health insurance is unaffordable, according to a survey released on Thursday.
The survey from Enroll America, a non-profit healthcare enrollment coalition, found that 68 percent of uninsured adults had not yet logged onto their online exchanges.
A similar number, 69 percent of the uninsured, still lacked knowledge about tax subsidies and other financial help designed to make the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, affordable for many, the survey said.
“Large proportions of the uninsured are also still in the dark about deadlines and that brand new plans are available,” Enroll America said in a report about the survey.
“A lack of facts about costs and coverage may be the greatest barriers to enrollment,” it added.
The law is expected to reduce the number of uninsured in the United States by almost half, or about 25 million people, in the next 10 years.
As many as 7 million people are expected to buy insurance on the state exchanges and 8.7 million new beneficiaries are expected to enroll in Medicaid in 2014 alone.
The administration, however, appears to be far behind in meeting its enrollment goals.
Anne Filipic, the president of Enroll America, told reporters in a conference call about the survey that more than 2 million uninsured Americans have signed up for plans through state and federal exchanges so far.
The nationwide survey of 910 adults was conducted December 12-22 by PerryUndem Research/Communication and had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.
It found that eight in 10 uninsured adults were unaware of the need to sign up for insurance by March to avoid a fine, under the so-called individual mandate.
Forty-three percent of Latinos participating in the survey said they weren’t aware of the federally managed Healthcare.gov website. Only 25 percent of blacks and 21 percent of Latinos said they visited the website, compared with 30 percent of whites.
In response to the survey, Enroll America said it was hiring 60 more staffers in 11 states to get its message out, sending them to supermarkets and churches to connect with more people while seeking volunteers to serve as “ambassadors” for Obamacare.
“Greater awareness and education about financial help and addressing cost concerns may be effective ways to boost enrollment for the remainder of the period,” the coalition said
(Additional reporting and writing by Tom Brown; Editing by David Adams and Jan Paschal)