With the deadline looming for open enrollment in The Affordable Care Act, one of the first landmarks is finally set to fall and possibly set things in motion.
The deadline for open enrollment is Monday, March 31st. With that in mind, a recent poll from the Kaiser Health Foundation shows that 50%, or half of those currently uninsured, do not plan to purchase coverage. The following information comes from ACA International:
"Fifty percent of people without health insurance as of mid-March said they will not purchase coverage before the March 31, 2014, Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll."
That is not wholly surprising, though a more troubling bit of information follows:
"In the final days of the open enrollment period, substantial shares of the uninsured were unaware of the Affordable Act Act’s individual mandate and the deadline to sign up for coverage, according to the poll of about 1,500 adults over age 18. One-third of those who did not have coverage as of mid-March were unaware that the law requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine...A majority of the poll’s uninsured participants (67 percent) said they have not attempted to get coverage during the last six months."
We have known for some time now that there would likely be a segment of the population, especially those known as the "young invincibles," who would make a conscious choice not to purchase coverage. That said, this misinformation or lack of information might be a separate issue entirely.
What this shows, among other things, is that a number of consumers simply will not understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act or what it means for their coverage. This will be true as facilities deal with the potential hit to their A/R and the projected increase in bad debt; the baseline of knowledge about this issue will vary with different people. Add that to the growing list of concerns for hospitals and medical centers as they try to plan ahead for the challenges of 2014 and beyond.