SURVEY: Americans Still Don’t Know About Obamacare’s Biggest Consumer Protections


Americans remain unaware that most of Obamacare’s provisions have gone into effect and don’t know about several of the law’s most popular provisions, according to a new tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The poll finds that the vast majority of Americans (about 62 percent) think that only “some” parts of the Affordable Care Act have gone into effect, even though most of its major provisions became a reality on January 1. Nearly ten percent don’t think any of it has gone into effect at all. And large shares of Americans — particularly the uninsured — don’t even know that the law contains popular provisions such as prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and an optional expansion of Medicaid:

Luckily, the uninsured are aware that they probably don’t have all of the correct information. About two in three of the uninsured told KFF that they don’t know enough about the ACA to ascertain its effects on them and their families.

But the survey underscores the reality that the complexity of the health law and a never-ending misinformation campaign by its critics has sown mass confusion among those who would benefit the most from Obamacare. Several recent reports by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) have found that uninsured Americans are unaware that they may be eligible for Medicaid in states that expanded it, that they may qualify for federal subsidies to help pay their monthly premiums.

Still, about half of the uninsured Americans polled by KFF this month say they plan on getting insurance this year. And the law is meant to gradually sign up the uninsured, with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projecting that approximately seven million will sign up this year and about 23 million will have purchased marketplace plans by the end of the decade.