Survey finds uninsured still largely unaware of options

Sep 23, 2014 | Healthcare Industry News

The Affordable Care Act mandated that all Americans purchase health coverage, or pay a penalty. This led to a significant decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, falling from 22 to 15 percent over the last year. However, the annual survey performed by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) uncovered some interesting statistics that show many of the Americans that remain uninsured are still ignorant of the coverage options available to them.

The TCHS survey found that nearly half (46 percent) of uninsured Americans are unaware of the mandate that requires them to purchase health insurance. Forty-three percent reported that have not heard of any of the Exchanges where they may be eligible to purchase coverage. 

For the remainder of uninsured Americans, 11 percent claimed that they opted to not purchase health insurance because of the cost involved and 27 percent explained they anticipated the tax penalty and their health expenses to cost less than paying for coverage. 

However, the majority of those who have purchased insurance from the Exchanges report being satisfied with their decision. "More than three-quarters (78 percent) of the newly insured population (ages 18-64) are at least somewhat satisfied with the quality of the health care that they can access,"  TCHS Executive Director Hector De La Torre wrote in a statement accompanying the survey. 

When an uninsured patient is unable to cover the cost of their treatment, it can cause care facilities to develop bad debt that eventually impacts cash flow and the quality of care it is able to provide. The decision to outsource accounts receivable can lead to a decrease in the amount of dollars written off to bad debt, as well as an increased cash flow.