Consumer Surveys Indicate HIX and ACA Knowledge Does Not Match Reported CMS Readiness

by Patrick Riley 29 Aug 2013
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A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that consumers are woefully under and ill informed when it comes to the ACA and implementation elements such as health insurance exchanges. We know that Dr. Mandy Cohen, the CMS administrator responsible for HIX enrollment reported earlier this week that CMS "is ready." While at the same time, it appears from this Kaiser field work that perhaps consumers whom CMS is expecting to enroll in approved health plans in all states beginning on October 1st may not have the level of information required to make such a decision or even understand where to look for health insurance. Kaiser found that 44% of respondents think "the law has been repealed (8 percent), overturned by the Supreme Court (5 percent), or unsure whether it remains the law or not (31%)."

One other nugget from this poll is that from June of August of this year, knowledge about the health insurance exchanges has only gone from a paltry 8% to a dismal 12% with enrollment kick off less than 40 days away. The other piece is that only 8% of respondents trust the news media to get objective information concerning the ACA and its many confusing elements, one being the health insurance exchanges. Not surprising when you consider the banter from FOX News and MSNBC.

Regardless, here we are literally on the eve of open enrollment and no one seems to know anything about something. So, I predict that enrollment will need a learning curve of opportunity to roll over our psyche. We have until March 31st to sign up and I predict not much will happen until after January. We will need that time to look, listen, and form opinions sufficient to enroll in care plans. So, look for initial numbers this fall to be small, then begin to climb in the winter. October 1st will not see servers crashing from lack of storage space nor will call-center phone trunk lines fail as a result of too many inbound calls. There will be progress and momentum will be gained, but not for weeks, even months.

Please follow me on Twitter as I will continue to write and comment in this space @Patrick_FrostHC.

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