Survey Finds 1 in 5 Uninsured Don’t Want Coverage

Many are unaware of their health insurance options.

Posted: 08/13/2014 01:15 PM EDT

Though millions of people gained health coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act, millions more remain unaware of their options or have no interest in getting insured, a new survey has found.

Among those who were uninsured last year and remain uninsured, only 59 percent were familiar with the new Obamacare marketplaces and 38 percent were aware of federal subsidies to lower their insurance costs, according to the survey conducted in June by the nonpartisan Urban Institute.

About 60 percent of respondents list cost as the main reason for not having insurance. But 20 percent say they don’t want health insurance or would rather pay the fine for not having coverage.

The survey estimated about 8 million people gained health care coverage since last fall. In the past month, a New England Journal of Medicine study found that 10 million people gained coverage. The Rand Corp. has estimated 9.3 million people gained coverage.

“A lot of people who remain uninsured never looked on the marketplace,” said Stephen Zuckerman, co-director of the Urban Institute Health Policy Center. “If you build it, they do not always come.”

Zuckerman said while many people say health insurance costs are too high, many don’t understand its value. “People are paying for something but not seeing an immediate return,” he said.

While the poll results have implications for next year’s open enrollment, which starts November 15, the first year sign-ups still outpaced expectations, said Sharon Long, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. “It really has been an impressive rollout, not perfect but good.”

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  (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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