Despite the fact that Obamacare is on track to be fully implemented by next year, many doctors aren’t talking about the health reform law at all with their patients. Half of Americans who regularly meet with a doctor say they haven’t heard anything about healthcare reform at their appointments, according to a new consumer survey from HealthPocket.
The health care group points out that doctors are a trusted resource, and could go a long way toward helping educate Americans about the upcoming changes under Obamacare. “Medical appointments can be critical opportunities to discuss the personal implications of health reform,” HealthPocket’s CEO, Bruce Telkamp, said in a statement. “Doctors, as trusted healthcare experts in the eyes of consumers, can help their patients understand how patient care will be affected.”
Many of the Americans who already have health insurance won’t experience drastic changes as a result of Obamacare, but they will likely become eligible for new benefits that weren’t previously covered under their plan. They may not realize they can take advantage of those new options if their doctors don’t explain that to them. Or, if Americans are planning to enroll in Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces, they may want to know if their current doctor will still accept that insurance.
Several surveys have confirmed that the American public remains pretty confused about what exactly the health reform law does. In April, a poll found that over 40 percent of Americans aren’t even sure if Obamacare is still law. The Obama administration is currently preparing for several public education campaigns to try to address this education gap, but anti-Obamacare Republicans have been resisting those efforts. In fact, Obamacare opponents have outspent the law’s supporters on advertisements by a four to one margin.
The patients who told HealthPocket they had discussed health reform with their doctor reported getting mixed opinions. Thirty eight percent of participants heard mostly negative comments about Obamacare from their doctors, compared to 33 percent who heard mostly positive things. Twenty nine percent received neutral information about the health law.