Days Away From Signing-up, Many Californians Still Don’t Understand Obamacare

Women knit as they attend a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California September 10, 2013 . The event included a discussion of how the Affordable Care Act, also called 'Obamacare' will impact senior citizens and what insurance plans will be available to them. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Women knit as they attend a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California September 10, 2013 . The event included a discussion of how the Affordable Care Act, also called ‘Obamacare’ will impact senior citizens and what insurance plans will be available to them. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

In five days, a key piece of the Affordable Care Act goes live in California — the state-run insurance marketplace Covered California. Yet, most Californians eligible to participate, are confused.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Thursday, finds three in four state residents eligible for government-subsidized private plans are either unaware they quality, or wrongly believe they don’t qualify.

This survey was taken just about a month ago.

KQED’s Mina Kim spoke to Mollyann Brodie, the Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research and Senior Vice President for Executive Operations at Kaiser Family Foundation, about the survey.

Lack of knowledge goes both ways

“This lack of knowledge cuts both ways. On the one hand there’s going to be a lot of Californians who are going to be surprised to learn that they actually are going to get help paying for their health care coverage.

“But on the other hand as you’re pointing out about half of undocumented immigrants who are uninsured told us that they actually believed that they were going to be eligible for help under the ACA and they actually were optimistic that they were going to get help with their health care and of course the law doesn’t extend to undocumented immigrants.”

It’s a challenge to inform people, but not to enroll them

“It’s going to be this challenge of getting people aware of what programs they’re eligible for and where they can actually get help getting coverage. But it’s not going to be a challenge in terms of whether people are going to want to enroll in the program. These people who are going to be eligible for Medi-Cal are actually very favorable towards it.

“Up until this point views about the law have really just been based on what people have heard through the media or through the political debates and everything’s been mostly a political football.

“But now starting October 1st as people can actually enroll in the coverage provisions we start seeing the very major provisions of the law. The ones that actually affect people in their day to day life taking effect. I think by tracking the people who the law can in many ways most help, it sheds light on what it really means for families and whether it’s helping them or not helping them.”

Related