Who got covered…and why?


Guest post by Jessie Kavanagh, Master’s Student in Public Health, Hunter College





People with more knowledge about the ACA and health insurance were more likely to enroll in the Marketplaces, according to a new Enroll America survey.  The July 2014 report, “Voices from the Newly Enrolled and Still Uninsured,” produced by Enroll America and PerryUndem Research/Communications, offers insights into why Americans decided whether or not to enroll through the newly created Marketplaces during the first open enrollment period. In particular, a large knowledge gap between insured and uninsured adults points to the need for more outreach and education on our health care system and ACA provisions.

The researchers surveyed adults across the US aged 18-64, and the report analyses are based on two sample groups: 671 enrolled adults and 853 uninsured adults.

Below are highlights of the survey findings:

Uninsured individuals need more information about financial assistance.

  • Only 26% of uninsured people knew that financial assistance/subsidies were available through the Marketplace.
  • Over half of the uninsured respondents assumed that insurance was too expensive and therefore decided against enrolling.
  • 1 in 3 uninsured people began the enrollment process, but did not end up enrolling for various reasons such as concerns about cost.

Uninsured Americans need more information about ACA provisions and the healthcare system in general.

  •  Almost half of uninsured adults don’t understand the term “premium.”
  • Only a quarter of the uninsured knew that preventive care is now free under the ACA.

More outreach and education is needed to reach Latinos and young adults in particular.

  •  20% of Latinos said the Marketplace was too confusing as compared to only 9% of whites.
  • Latinos and young adults were the most likely of the uninsured to not know about the open enrollment deadline and individual mandate.
  • More than half of young adult respondents did not know they might be able to stay on their parent’s insurance until they turned 26.

Nearly half of uninsured respondents said they would “definitely,” or “probably” enroll next year if they are still uninsured. However, 42% were unsure. This shows how important it is to create more and better ways to reach and educate uninsured populations to ensure that no one goes without care.

That insurance in the window

We’ve been telling you for months, heck – years – that health insurance will cost less on the health insurance exchange.  But, exact numbers? Well, that’s hard to say.   We know there will be premium subsidies (tax credits), but it will depend on a lot of different factors: what your income is, where you live, what plan you choose, etc.  In fact, unless you qualify for Medicaid, you probably won’t really know what the cost of insurance will be until you log onto the New York State Health Benefit Exchange on October 1st.

But, until then, the estimates of health insurance costs are getting much better.   This is largely due to the release of the approved monthly health insurance rates  for Exchange plans a few weeks ago, and the genius subsidy calculator put out by Kaiser.  The calculator uses an estimate based on average insurance prices in the nation.  But, by logging into the subsidy calculator and punching in some basic information about your household, you can see what the maximum percentage of income your family is expected to pay for insurance.  You can then compare that to the cost of the 2nd lowest-cost silver plan in your area (available here).  If the annual cost amounts to more than the % of income you are expected to pay, then the difference will likely be the amount of your subsidy.  I say “likely” because it doesn’t factor in all of the variables that will be taken into consideration on the Exchange, but it’s still a good guess.  That subsidy amount can then be applied to the cost of any plan (platinum, gold, silver or bronze) to get a final price.

Of course, not everyone who wants to purchase insurance on the Exchange will be eligible for subsidies to lower the cost.  But, a new report by Kaiser estimates that as many as 48% of people now buying insurance on their own would be eligible.  Either way, its worth a shot to log into the Exchange after October 1st to see what you may be eligible for.  You might just be surprised!

Here is the page (you might want to bookmark it):



Health Law Answers

The AARP today announced the availability of a new online tool designed to help people looking for information on the Affordable Care Act.  Its pretty neat and walks you through the changes that will affect you based on criteria you will select, as well as new benefits and options.  You can check the new tool out, called HealthLawAnswers, by clicking here.

This is part of AARP’s ongoing effort to educate people about the health care law by providing resources that are easy to understand.  AARP also created a sister website called HealthLawFacts.org to allow consumers to sort through hand easily find info on specific aspects of the law.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_HkZvZ4uE8&feature=share&list=PLbq-QGkCuo_dOVf8AlUwVRe71EnmL4L83&w=400&h=300 A few weeks ago, New York held its first statewide enrollment summit for the New York State Health Benefit Exchange.  The purpose of this invitation-only event was twofold: to update stakeholders on the State’s progress and plans, and to gather feedback on how to maximize outreach and enrollment. Along with Exchange officials, we also heard from DDB and Ketchum, the two firms hired for the state’s media outreach campaign, Enroll America, and from an enrollment panel of brokers, facilitated enrollers, and advocates.  And, thanks to 1199 SEIU’s Health Care Education Project, we have video available of these parts of the enrollment summit.  This footage is broken into three parts, the first of which is above.  Click here for part 2 and part 3. The afternoon section focused on a break out session where the summit attendees were asked for their feedback on a number of questions primarily around existing exchange materials and a series of upcoming regional enrollment summits that will be held around the state.  Given the nature of these breakouts in different rooms, there is no video available.  However, I can report back that this was a highly interactive process and that each breakout group had members of the exchange staff there to take notes and ask questions.  Some highlights from my group included the need for input from non-English speaking people (not just bilingual), and appropriate materials in other languages.   Feedback collected at this event will go into producing the regional variations which are expected to happen in September. More on those later. We’ll keep you posted!