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Survey: Many Uninsured Not Aware of ACA's Upcoming Open Enrollment Period

Survey: Many Uninsured Not Aware of ACA's Upcoming Open Enrollment Period

October 22, 2014 — About nine of 10 uninsured individuals who responded to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey said they did not know that the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) next open enrollment period begins in November, the New York Times' "The Upshot" reports (Sanger-Katz, "The Upshot," New York Times, 10/21).

The finding comes from the most recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, for which researchers surveyed 1,503 U.S. adults between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14 ("Methodology," KFF poll, 10/21). The next enrollment period begins Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15, 2015.

According to Mollyann Brodie, KFF's executive director for public opinion and survey research, the results are similar to what other surveys showed before the first open enrollment period. However, she said it was surprising so few people were aware this time around, given recent news coverage of the ACA. She said, "You'd think there's just been so much attention and effort put out there" that more people would know about it.

Additional Findings

The survey also found that two-thirds of uninsured respondents said they know "only a little" or "nothing at all" about the ACA's insurance marketplaces. In addition, more than half said they did know that they might qualify for financial assistance to purchase exchange coverage ("The Upshot," New York Times, 10/21). Although they are unaware about certain details, a majority of uninsured residents plan to obtain coverage in the next few months, the study found ("Findings," KFF poll, 10/21).

According to "The Upshot," improving awareness among uninsured U.S. residents could be difficult compared with last fall, as the first uninsured residents to enroll in coverage likely were more motivated to obtain coverage.

Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, said, "Those who remain uninsured are likely fundamentally harder to reach than those who enrolled in the first enrollment period." According to Filipic, Enroll America's data indicate that upon learning how the ACA works, many uninsured residents want coverage. She added, "Though they may be harder to reach, they are not necessarily harder to convince" ("The Upshot," New York Times, 10/21).