43% of uninsured don't know about Obamacare individual mandate
We're about 90 days out from the official rollout of Obamacare when those who have no insurance can begin buying it through state exchanges.
They will have another 90 days to purchase insurance, or sign up for Medicaid in their state before the IRS starts slapping penalties on them.
How many are aware that they have to buy insurance or face a "tax" from the IRS?
The vast majority of Americans, 81%, say they are aware of the 2010 Affordable Care Act's (ACA's) requirement that most Americans must carry health insurance or pay a fine. Americans who are currently uninsured -- those most directly affected by this requirement -- are much less likely to be aware of the provision, with 56% saying they know about it and 43% saying they are unaware.
The results are based on a June 20-24 Gallup poll, which asked a series of questions on the ACA, the comprehensive healthcare reform bill signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Many of the law's key provisions will go into effect January 2014. Gallup previously reported that more Americans thought the law would make the healthcare situation worse than better for themselves and the nation.
The subgroups that are less likely to be aware of the health insurance requirement are also the subgroups that are least likely to be insured, including Hispanics, blacks, young adults, and those in lower-income households.
The federal government is ramping up its efforts to increase awareness among the uninsured to purchase health insurance. Those who lack insurance can find and purchase a plan for 2014 through a government website starting Oct. 1.
Three in Four Americans at Least Somewhat Familiar With the ACA
From a broader perspective, most Americans say they are at least somewhat familiar with the ACA as a whole -- with 16% saying they are very familiar with it and 59% saying they are somewhat familiar with it. Those who currently have insurance are more likely to say they are familiar with the law than those who are uninsured. However, the gap between these two groups on this question -- 12 percentage points -- is much smaller than the 29-point difference in the two groups' awareness of the specific insurance requirement.
I doubt very much whether 59% of Americans are "somewhat familiar" with Obamacare. If they had any clue at all, they would be screaming bloody murder.
Over the next 6 months, employers are going to be making decisions about whether to maintain their group plans, or throw their employees on the mercy of the state exchanges and pay the penalty. Many have been putting off that decision because insurance companies are just now receiving final rules on what they can charge under Obamacare. If it is as bad as some insurance experts believe, expect up to 15 million more people to be forced to buy insurance on state exchanges.
That percentage of people who don't know about the individual mandate will go down considerably as the PR campaign picks up steam. But there are still going to be an awful lot of Americans who are going to get a rude surprise when the IRS tells them they have to pay the penalty for not carrying any insusrance.