With just over a month to go before the open enrollment in Obamacare’s new insurance marketplaces begins, Americans are starting to seek out more information about health reform — but they don’t tend to get that information from sources they actually trust, according to the results from a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
Starting in October, uninsured Americans will be able to sign up to purchase insurance plans through the marketplaces, and many of them will qualify for federal subsidies to help them afford it. As the deadline draws near, more Americans report that they’re starting to learn about their new insurance options. According to Kaiser, 33 percent of the public now say they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” information about the state-level marketplaces, up from just 22 percent in June.
But they don’t necessarily trust the sources of that information. For instance, 81 percent of Americans say they’ve heard “something” about Obamacare from newspapers, cable TV, online news, or radio over the past month. They’re likely skeptical about what they’ve heard, since just eight percent of the study’s participants say they put “a lot” of trust in the news media. A similar pattern emerges with social media. Nearly a quarter of Americans have heard about health reform on Facebook and Twitter sometime over the past month, but just three percent think they can trust those sources.
Even though Americans say they’re most likely to trust information about Obamacare from their own doctors and nurses, they don’t tend to be hearing about the law from those places. A poll conducted last month found that half of Americans haven’t heard a single thing about Obamacare from their doctors.
Education campaigns about Obamacare have intensified this summer, as the federal government, state officials, and nonprofit partners are all attempting to teach the public what they need to know before October. But those efforts aren’t going so well in many deeply red states, which have actively worked against ensuring that state agencies have the resources they need to spread the word about the law. Nonprofits are focusing their attention on GOP-run states to try to fill in the gaps, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Over 43 percent of uninsured Americans don’t know they’ll be required to buy insurance in the new marketplaces this fall. Persistent misinformation campaigns about the health law — which are often propped up with millions in funding from Koch-backed groups — have propagated a serious knowledge gap about what the law actually does.