Obamacare Signups Soar, but Knowledge Gap Persists
By Dan Heyman, WVNS
With a little more than two months to go in the open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, community organizers say the biggest obstacle for consumers is not the “Healthcare.gov” website but a lack of awareness about financial assistance.
Erin Knott of Enroll America said many West Virginians with whom her group has worked are well aware that “Care” is available under the ACA, but the “Affordable” part takes some convincing.
“We have our work cut out for us to make sure that we are continuing to outreach and talk to consumers about financial assistance that will be available, that we’re directing them to in-person assisters across the state, that we make them aware of financial calculators that exist.”
In a recent Enroll America survey, eight out of 10 uninsured respondents did not believe they could afford health insurance. It’s estimated that 60 percent of those currently uninsured will qualify for financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act.
Knott said she hopes consumers will tune out the rhetoric that has surrounded health-care reform and focus on making an informed decision – particularly for the nearly one in five West Virginians without coverage who may be sorting through this complex information for the first time.
“Insurance is complicated,” she said. “I mean, the difference between a deductible and a premium and an out-of-pocket expense, you know? We’re making sure that people have facts and that they know where to go for more hands-on kind of help.”
Open enrollment for plans offered under the Affordable Care Act runs through March 31. West Virginians can find more information about enrollment forums and community assisters, as well as financial calculators for different plans at GetCoveredAmerica.org.