Popular misconceptions about health insurance reform can be costly. For instance, one-in-three Adults surveyed (33%) believe new health reforms will be implemented within one year, with one-in-ten (11%) expecting new reforms within six months, and two-in-five (22%) expecting reforms to be implemented within the first year. The fact is that most health insurance reforms will not go into effect until 2014.
We've noticed that over the past few months, as the debate over health care reform has dominated the media, many of the uninsured Americans that we've talked with are delaying the purchase health insurance "until Obamacare passes".
A recent poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation and sponsored by eHealth, Inc. confirms what we've heard.
Key findings of the poll include the following:
- 24% of respondents said that if they had no health insurance today they wait for health reform legislation to pass before seeking new health insurance coverage.
- If they had no access to health insurance through an employer, spouse, parent, or relative, almost one-third of Americans surveyed (30%) would go without insurance for the following reasons: they can't afford it (15%), they would wait for health reform legislation to pass (13%) or don't think they need it (2%).
- When asked what they would expect to pay for a government-provided health insurance option, over a quarter (29%) of Americans said that they would expect it to be free or cost up to only $75 per month. Of those, 14% expected it to cost $25 or less. Separately, 31% expected it to cost between $76 and $250 per month, and 14% expected it to cost more than $250 per month.
- Overall, when you include those who thought it would be free, the mean dollar amount that Americans expect to pay for a government-provided health insurance option is $121 per month.
- One-in-three Adults surveyed (33%) believe new health reforms will be implemented within one year, with one-in-ten (11%) expecting new reforms within six months, and two-in-five (22%) expecting reforms to be implemented within the first year. Separately, 60% expected health reforms to become available only after one year, with many (21%) expecting changes in three or more years.
Misconceptions Can Cost You
For example, one in three Adults surveyed (33%) believe the new health insurance reforms will be available to consumers within 12 months of the legislation being passed. In fact, key elements of the current Senate bill such as guaranteed issue for adults or premium/cost-sharing subsidies in the individual health insurance market would not be effective until 2014.
A health reform bill will probably pass within the next few days and I believe it will lead to a better system. But don't risk going without coverage. There are already a number of affordable health insurance options in the individual and family health insurance market.