(CBS News) – A third of Americans without health insurance intend to stay that way, according to a new report. Although the most common reason for doing without coverage is the expense, 70 percent of those planning to stay uninsured did not know about the subsidies afforded under Obamacare that reduce the cost.
The report by Bankrate.com shows that, despite the government’s effort to promote the new health law, also called the Affordable Care Act, many Americans seem unfamiliar with key details of the program.
“This is a staggeringly high percentage,” said Bankrate.com insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. “The government has spent over half a billion dollars promoting the Affordable Care Act, and more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans still don’t know about the subsidies.”
Some 46 percent of those surveyed also were unaware of the March 31 deadline for being insured.
Ignorance about the tax credits ran highest among Republicans and people in the West and South. More than 40 percent of people who identified themselves as Republicans said there are no tax credits to lessen the cost of insurance, compared with 20 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of independents. Slightly more than a third of those in both the West and South say the tax credits don’t exist, compared with 25 percent in the Northeast and just 13 percent in the Midwest.
Some 17 percent said they weren’t getting insurance because they opposed the ACA, making that the second-most common reason cited for skipping coverage. Half of the Republicans who plan to stay uninsured said this was the main reason, compared with only 5 percent of Democrats.
Among those between the ages of 18 and 29, nearly a third said they don’t plan to obtain insurance because they’re healthy and don’t need it. Only 6 percent of respondents between the ages of 30 and 49 said that.
In the report, Deborah Chollet, a health insurance research leader at Mathematica Policy Research, said she thinks part of the problem is that the government focused too much on getting information about Obamacare out to those under the age of the 30.
“Low-income, young families may have been overlooked. They’re probably not spending a lot of time watching television, they never read a newspaper and if they listen to radio it’s probably music in the car,” she is quoted as saying. “In communities of color, people might hear about [Obamacare] in church, but for people who are not attached to a church, I don’t know how they get the information.”