Most Americans unaware of PPACA deadlineNews added by Benefits Pro on January 28, 2014
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By Kathryn Mayer

Yet another survey is out underscoring the ongoing confusion many are experiencing over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act while stressing the challenges the administration has in getting Americans signed up for coverage under the law.

More than half of Americans (55 percent) still don’t know that the deadline to sign up for health insurance under PPACA is March 31, according to a Bankrate.com report released Monday. Confusion over the deadline was highest among the 18-to-29 age group, those who make less than $30,000 annually, and those without college degrees.

About one in four Americans (24 percent) incorrectly think the deadline already passed on Jan. 1. And 11 percent think they have until Dec. 31 to sign up, a full nine months after the deadline.

Though it’s no secret Americans have been confused by the law’s details, it’s surprising so many aren’t sure of the deadline when those who miss it will pay a tax penalty under the law and be forced to wait until next year’s open enrollment to get insurance -- unless they experience a qualifying event such as marriage in the interim.

In 2014, the penalty is $95, or 1 percent of a person’s income, whichever is higher. The penalty escalates in subsequent years.

Further potentially hindering the law’s success is the fact that many Americans aren’t taking the deadline to sign up for Obamacare seriously. The survey found that 62 percent of Americans think the government will push the deadline back to a later date.

Though Bankrate analysts said many people who aren’t paying close attention to the law already have health insurance through work, the survey’s findings still are concerning.

“It’s especially worrisome that young adults — who are the most likely to be uninsured — are the least informed about the deadline and the most likely to think it will be moved,” said Bankrate insurance analyst Doug Whiteman. “Obamacare’s success hinges on young, healthy Americans signing up, so if they continue to procrastinate past the deadline, it could cause insurance premiums to increase.”

The survey also found that 33 percent of Americans feel more negative about PPACA than they did one year ago and only 12 percent feel more positive about it.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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