Gallup: Uninsured Americans still largely unfamiliar with Obamacare exchanges

Obamacare protest U.S. CapitolEven with the healthcare exchanges up-and-running, 47 percent of all uninsured Americans are still not very familiar with them, according to a new Gallup study released Friday.

The findings are not much better than last month’s survey, when 51 percent of uninsured Americans said that they weren’t familiar with the exchanges. Less than one in three unemployed Americans, however, are somewhat or very familiar with the exchanges – a disappointing sign for the Obama administration considering how vital these individuals are to the exchanges’ success.

Obama and Co. have been able to stress the importance of having insurance for the new year, as 73 percent of uninsured Americans reported knowing that they will need to have coverage in 2014 or pay a fine, the study found. That doesn’t mean they will buy into the government’s healthcare exchanges, however, with nearly one in three Americans currently uninsured opting to pay the fine instead of getting insurance, according to the study.

Americans have been able to sign up for healthcare through the exchanges in 36 states since October 1. The number of people who have actually signed up for healthcare through the federal government is unavailable, however, as the rollout for the program hasn’t been very smooth. People have reported problems with the customer service functions of the site, and many have even had to submit multiple applications because the exchanges’ software program wasn’t collecting all the requisite information the first time.

The federal government ultimately had to take down the website temporarily to repair some of its problems.

Gallup conducted a telephone study of 702 adults nationwide who currently do not have health insurance on Oct. 7-17, 2013. The margin of error for the study is +/- 5 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. 

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