Deadline? What Deadline?! The Uninsured Are Still in the Dark About Obamacare

A blog about business and economics.
March 26 2014 11:00 AM

Deadline? What Deadline?! The Uninsured Are Still in the Dark About Obamacare

Kathleen Sebelius speaks in Detroit.
Nobody is listening, Kathleen.

Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The White House announced last night that it would extend Obamacare’s insurance enrollment deadline past March 31 for those who have tried and failed to sign up for coverage. Which is to say, it’s moving the due date for pretty much everybody, because applicants who want the extra time just need to click a box on healthcare.gov stating that they already tried to enroll at some point. As the Washington Post reports, “This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.”

That’s probably for the best, because according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s newest health tracking poll, only one-third of the currently uninsured have actually tried to get coverage in the past six months. Meanwhile, 60 percent didn’t even know the deadline date. And, maybe most worrisomely if you’re part of the Obama administration, half of them plan to stay uninsured anyway, even though they might have to pay a fine. (A quick aside: Kaiser only polled 150 uninsured individuals, so it’s margin of sampling error is a pretty big plus or minus 9 percentage points. Still, better than no info.)

Advertisement

Now, it may be that some of those happily uninsured think they’ll qualify for a hardship exemption, which would allow them to go uninsured without a fine. More likely, most are clueless about their options. A whole 43 percent of the uninsured didn’t know that the law offers subsidies to help families get insurance. As always seems to be the case with this law, what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Jordan Weissmann is Slate's senior business and economics correspondent.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?