insurance

Uninsured plan to stay that way

 

This free health clinic in the Washington, D.C., suburbs offers free care to people who have no health insurance. Some, like Marta Granja, are in no hurry to get coverage, despite the promise and penalties of the Affordable Care Act.

Marta Granja, Patient, Mercy Health Clinic: "I don't have that kind of money. I don't make it."

A Bankrate.com survey of uninsured Americans finds many plan to stay that way. Costs are a common concern.

Maria, Patient, Mercy Health Clinic: "For my age, as a woman for my age, the cheapest one probably a month would be $500, $600. And I'm a single mom, so for me it's very hard to pay $500 or even more monthly to have insurance. I know that it's needed, but I need to pay other expenses."

Crissinda Ponder, Insurance Analyst, Bankrate.com: "In our latest survey, we found that one-third of uninsured Americans are choosing to ignore the individual mandate that says you have to have health insurance or you could face a penalty. And the reason most cited by those uninsured Americans is that it's too expensive.

Oembikian Bista, Patient, Mercy Health Clinic: "It is very expensive."

Financial assistance is available through the Obamacare law, but the survey found a majority of the uninsured don't know about that.

"One of the benefits of the health reform law is that it offers tax credits to lower-income households to help them afford health insurance, but our survey found that more than two-thirds of uninsured Americans are unaware of these subsidies that may be available to them."

Also, fewer than half the uninsured in the survey -- 48 percent -- could correctly name March 31 as the deadline for enrolling in health insurance to avoid a financial penalty.

Deanna, Employee, Mercy Health Clinic: "Sources are hard to find. You know it's not like it's just right there in front of you. And especially if you live in a big community and you don't know where to go. Like me when I was in this area, I didn't know where to go."

Deanna, a clinic employee, isn't surprised that many of the uninsured don't know enough about a law that's supposed to be helping them.

"It's very serious and it's sad because there's times they come in here and they're so sick and sometimes we don't even have the funds, to my knowledge, to help them. And sometimes I go home really, really personal ... and I get sad."

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, or for more information on our Health Insurance Pulse survey, visit Bankrate.com. I'm Doug Whiteman.

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