UCF Expert: ACA Misinformation Persists as Exchanges Open
Oct 1, 2013 | WMFE - Even as the federal government's health insurance exchange website is bombarded with heavy traffic on its first day, polls show that misinformation persists about the Affordable Care Act.
Lynn Unruh is a nurse, economist, and professor at the University of Central Florida’s College of Health and Public Affairs. She says one of the biggest problems is awareness - three quarters of uninsured respondents in a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll did not know that health insurance exchanges were opening today.
Other issues include a misunderstanding of the Affordable Care Act’s basics. For instance, half of the people surveyed thought the law created a government-run insurance plan. Unruh says that’s not true.
“To the contrary, states were given total discretion in setting up their own exchanges and some states decided not to, including Florida, so the federal government has to run the exchange," she explains. "But all the federal government is doing is some of the administrative functions of it. The exchanges are totally market-based, and they involve different insurance companies offering to provide insurance to people. And all the exchange does is organize those insurance compaines into a place where people can go to do one-stop shopping.”
Another study by the Commonwealth Fund says only two out of five people know that financial help is available for plans purchased through the exchanges.
Unruh says the lack of awareness is compounded by the state government's decision to bar Affordable Care Act "navigators" from county health departments. Navigators are workers hired to help people navigate the new online exchanges.
The federal exchange website is healthcare.gov.