FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Findings Report 1 in 4 Uninsured Will Opt for Penalty
December 4, 2013, 11:10:28 AM
Katie Sullivan
The individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act was intended to incentivize uninsured Americans into purchasing health insurance on the exchanges. However, latest findings show that the penalty may not be enough.

According to a recent poll from Gallup, 28% of uninsured Americans say they are more likely to pay the fine than sign up for coverage before the 2014 deadline.  The number is not a reflection of ignorance, as 81% of those polled said they were well aware of the penalty. Other findings of the poll suggest that 30% of the uninsured are “very” or “somewhat” familiar with state and federal government health insurance exchanges, while 66% are not familiar with them. Less than half of those who plan to get insurance will do so through an exchange, nearly one-third plan to get insurance outside an exchange, and only 17% remain unsure.

“If the roughly 1 in 4 uninsured Americans follow through on their current intentions and choose to pay the government fine for not having insurance, the U.S. will fall short of the goal of universal coverage, although significant progress toward that goal will still have been made,” read the report. “The fact that younger uninsured Americans are no more likely than older uninsured Americans to say they will pay the fine could be a positive sign for the law’s ability to keep insurance affordable, assuming that the younger uninsured are no less healthy than the older uninsured.”

While some experts voiced concern over the extent of awareness to the law’s many requirements, opposition to the law may be the bigger challenge in enrollment.

“The bottom line is that deeply partisan attitudes toward Obamacare continue to be visible in various ways and enrollment in new plans is no exception,” said Sean Sullivan, a reporter with The Washington Post.

Around the Web

One in Four U.S. Uninsured Plan to Remain That Way [Gallup]

Uninsured Republicans as Likely to Pay Fine as Obtain Coverage [The Washington Post]