By Jordan Rau
Nearly half of Americans lacking health insurance during the first year of the health law’s marketplaces appeared to be eligible for government assistance, but two-thirds of them said they found the health plans too expensive or were told they didn’t qualify, according to a survey released Thursday.
“Lack of awareness of new coverage options and financial assistance appear to be a major barrier.”
“Lack of awareness of new coverage options and financial assistance appear to be a major barrier,” the report said.
About 30 million Americans lack health insurance. Some of them are not eligible for financial assistance, either because they are not in the country legally or because their incomes are too high. Others live in a state that has not opted for a health law provision to expand Medicaid, the state-federal health program for the poor, to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $32,913 for a family of four.
Those people in the so-called “coverage gap” —about 4 million — don’t qualify for their states’ existing Medicaid program and don’t earn enough to qualify for the other financial assistance created in the 2010 health law. (As of this week, 22 states have not expanded their programs.)
The survey found that nearly six out of 10 uninsured people who appeared eligible for coverage through the health law did not attempt to get it last year. Cost was the main reason cited by more than half the people who seemed eligible for coverage but who remained uninsured. Continue reading