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Uninsured Americans are ignoring — for now

Only about one in five uninsured adults has attempted to log on to the embattled Web site, according to a new poll from Gallup.

The poll shows 18 percent say they have logged on or tried to log on in order to review their options.

Among the 67 percent of uninsured people who say they plan to obtain insurance through an exchange -- a quarter of uninsured people say they will simply pay the penalty and others aren't sure what they'll do -- about the same number say they have actually tried to access 22 percent.

The numbers could be taken as either a plus or a minus for an administration that is still trying to fix the Web site.

On the plus side, the vast majority of those who plan to obtain insurance through the exchanges haven't been subject to the myriad problems on the Web site.

On the minus side, it suggests traffic on the Web site is set to increase -- traffic that could further test the Web site's readiness -- as the deadline for obtaining insurance nears.

Americans must obtain insurance by March 31 in order to avoid paying a penalty under the individual mandate. But there is also expected to be a rush of people trying to obtain insurance before New Year's Day, due to their old plans expiring.

Other polling has shown Americans know little about the exchanges and that what they do know is that the exchanges are not working well, which could discourage people from trying to use them

Just 12 percent Americans in an October CBS News poll said, from what they had heard, the insurance exchanges were working well; 49 percent said they were not working well and 38 percent said they didn't know enough.

An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll around the same time showed 59 percent said they had heard "a lot" about problems people have had using the federal health exchange Web site.

A majority of uninsured Americans in an October Kaiser Family Foundation poll said they don’t have enough information to understand how the law will impact their own family (55 percent). That was down from 67 percent in September, but represents a knowledge deficit they will need to overcome to get covered.

A growing number of uninsured Americans say they have seen ads providing information on how to get insurance coverage, but this was still a minority of uninsured people (31 percent), compared with 18 percent in September.



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Anne Bartlett · November 8, 2013

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