One week from today marks the Affordable Care Act deadline for individual consumers to have an ACA-compliant policy from their employer or the online health marketplaces. Consumers who have not enrolled in coverage by March 31 will face a penalty on their taxes and will be prevented from signing up for subsidized healthcare until next year.
However, despite the time crunch only a quarter of Americans at this point had accessed the exchanges by January and many thousands of others are still uninformed about their responsibility to obtain coverage. Unfortunately, the majority of uninformed consumers are those who would benefit the most from tax credits and subsidies.
Misinformation is a major source of public reluctance to use the online health exchanges. The political debate over the Affordable Care Act is well-documented, and additional state laws governing the implementation of the individual mandate have further complicated the process.
The Obama administration is elbow-deep in a campaign to inform consumers and encourage them to apply for insurance. Volunteers are contacting households via phone banks, email, and door-to-door canvassing with pamphlets and applications. Canvassers hope that by educating consumers they will be able to dispel some of the myths surrounding the cost of health care plans and demonstrate the importance of having a compliant policy by next week’s deadline.
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