Many Americans Are Unaware of Healthcare Law Deadline

Pew Research Center


From Pew Research Center and our content partner New America Media:


With a Monday deadline looming for uninsured Americans to sign up for health care coverage, the Obama administration recently announced it would give more time to those who had tried to enroll in a plan through the federal insurance marketplace, but were unable to complete the process. However, many uninsured had not known the deadline was upon them and about half said they would remain uninsured, according to a Kaiser Health Tracking poll conducted March 11-17.


Under the healthcare law, those who do not obtain coverage for 2014 face financial penalties of up to 1 percent of their yearly household income, or $95 a person, whichever amount is higher, although even before the deadline extension was announced, there was an array of exemptions for hardships and other reasons.


While most Americans know that the law includes fines for those who do not buy coverage, Kaiser found that just 39 percent of the uninsured were aware of the Monday deadline. About four-in-ten (43 percent) said they didn’t know the deadline (or refused to answer), 13 percent believed it was sometime after March and 5 percent were under the impression it had already passed.


Uninsured unaware of ACA sign-up deadline


When those surveyed were reminded that they could be fined for not obtaining coverage, half said they would remain uninsured while 40 percent said they intended to get coverage.


About two-thirds (67 percent) of the uninsured said they have not tried to get insurance for themselves in the last six months compared with 33 percent who said they did.


The requirement to obtain coverage or be fined remains an unpopular element of the law: 64 percent of the public has a somewhat or very unfavorable view of it compared with 35 pecent who see it positively.


Kaiser found the public’s view of the law overall remained negative, but reported the gap has narrowed to 8 points, compared with a recent high of 16 points in November and January. Currently, 46 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the law compared with 38 percent who see it positively. A Pew Research Center survey conducted Feb. 27-March 16 found the public disapproved of the law by a 53 percent to 41 percent margin.


One other finding from Kaiser: Many Americans appear to be getting tired of the debate over the law four years after its enactment. Just over half (53 percent) expressed that view and said they wanted the country to move on to other issues while 42 percent believed it was important for the debate to continue.


Pew Research Center

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New America Media
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