Most Uninsured Americans Unaware of Health Exchange Options

Employer with Anxiety Headache..Approximately 30 million people are targeted to gain coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and much of its success hinges on whether that many people sign up for the law’s new insurance options. However, almost three years after the law has passed, polls and focus groups suggest a majority of uninsured people know little about the insurance exchanges and are unaware of the new coverage options or the availability of subsidies toward the cost of health insurance premiums.  Simply put, they don’t know where to shop for policies and many respondents say they have had negative experiences with finding health insurance or paying medical debts.

To help promote enrollment, some states are looking to draft sports teams, pharmacies (such as CVS Caremark) and various ground operations for their biggest marketing campaign yet: persuading millions of uninsured, hard-to-reach and skeptical Americans to sign up for health plans this fall, and informing people living in states without their own exchanges how to sign up on a federal exchange.

Washington state may work with the Seattle Sounders, a Major League Soccer team. Targeting the baseball team/season will not work due to the season beginning too early and ending just as open enrollment is due to begin (October). Rather, soccer starts in the summer, and ramps up in the fall. Also seen as an additional advantage, the sport is popular with Hispanic residents and families and is broadcast in multiple languages – important factors in targeting the uninsured in Washington.

The federal government is also reviewing strategies used to roll out the Medicare drug benefit passed in 2003 and the children’s health insurance program  to help promote understanding and availability of the new exchanges.

 Source:  Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2013

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