Americans Need More Info about Health Insurance, Coverage Options

by | 2 minute read

Approximately four in 10 Americans (38%) would rather pay a fine than buy health insurance, according to a new insuranceQuotes​.com report.

  • 65% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 would buy health insurance versus 57% of Americans 30 and older.
  • 78% of blacks would buy health insurance versus 61% of Hispanics and 56% of whites.
  • 74% of Democrats would buy health insurance versus 40% of Republicans and 56% of independents. doctor

The results reflect Americans' responses to a hypothetical scenario (a 45-year-old individual who earns $50,000 per year). A typical health plan would cost this person $3,000 per year. If this person did not buy health insurance, the fine would be $400.

"One of the key questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act is whether or not young Americans – especially healthy young Americans – will sign up for health insurance," said Laura Adams, insuranceQuotes.com's senior analyst. "This research sheds a positive light on that segment of the population. However, it's concerning that about three in 10 Americans still don't know about the possible fines."

The insuranceQuotes​.com report also found that most Americans are confused regarding the penalty amounts, which are the greater of $95 or 1% of household income above the filing threshold ($10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for families).

  • For an individual who earns $30,000 per year, the penalty would be $200. Only 21% of Americans who know that uninsured people will be fined correctly pegged the amount between $100 and $250 (38% overestimated and 36% underestimated).
  • For an individual who earns $75,000 per year, the penalty would be $650. Only 21% of Americans who know about fines correctly pegged the amount between $500 and $1,000 (46% underestimated and 29% overestimated).

Almost eight in 10 Americans who know about fines incorrectly think that children under the age of 18 are exempt from fines. Six in 10 falsely believe that senior citizens over the age of 65 are exempt.  And many are uninformed regarding how to pay the penalty. Only 64% correctly said the fine would come from their federal income tax refund.

As health care reform unfolds, health insurance marketers should continue to educate consumers on the importance of coverage and encourage consumers to lower their health risks.  New strategies are likely to emerge as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) forges ahead. What is clear is that “doing nothing” is not an option.

[Source:  Survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI)/InsuranceQuotes.com.  11 Dec. 2013.  Web.  23 Dec. 2013.]