Cost of Coverage Seen as Problem by Uninsured

Federal health officials have their work cut out for them to convince the uninsured that ObamaCare discounts can make medical coverage affordable.

New survey data released Thursday found that a majority of people — 53 percent — who were eligible for financial assistance but still remained uninsured in 2014 said the price of health coverage was the main reason.

Many eligible people who remained uninsured also did not research their coverage options, according to the survey, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Fifty-nine percent never shopped on their state’s marketplace, or through their state’s Medicaid agency, they said.

The figures highlight the challenge for the Obama administration as it seeks to woo the uninsured into the marketplaces and Medicaid by Feb. 15.

Each year the Affordable Care Act is in effect, the task is expected to get harder as activists try to reach the persistently uninsured.

Researchers with the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many uninsured people were confused about their eligibility for coverage.

“The findings show how important it is to come up with more effective strategies, in person, online and elsewhere, for educating people about their eligibility for coverage and financial assistance under the law,” said Rachel Garfield, the report’s lead author, in a statement.

Federal health officials and their allies have chosen to emphasize ObamaCare’s financial assistance as their primary marketing and messaging tool since the exchanges launched last year.

Some experts have questioned the wisdom of this approach, arguing that to highlight the individual mandate to buy health insurance would bring more people into the system.

Not all the survey data was bad for the administration. About half of the uninsured who were eligible for help said they planned to buy health insurance in 2015, the foundation reported. The survey was conducted between Sept. 2 and Dec. 15, 2014.

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