Ignorance is Bliss: Nearly Half of Uninsured Unaware of Individual Mandate, Exchanges

People live in their own little world, and a new poll proves it. NJBIZ reports on a new Harris poll conducted on behalf of Transamerica Center for Health Studies that finds a whopping 46 percent of the uninsured “still have not heard of the individual mandate” and that “43 percent have not heard of the exchanges.”

This is a shockingly high number of people who must never watch the news, listen to the radio, or read the newpaper. How, in the 5+ years that this law has been debated by politicians in Washington and made fun of by comedians nationwide; the 1 year since the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov; and the 10 months the mandate has actually been in effect could someone have heard absolutely nothing about them?

In case anyone who is unaware of the health law is reading this, we feel it’s safe to assume that you’ve probably missed some other news stories along the way, so here are a few to get you up to speed:

  • In 1969, the United States successfully sent a man to the moon (three actually) and returned him safely to the earth, just as JFK envisioned at the beginning of the decade.
  • Ronald Reagan, a former actor, became president on January 20, 1981. He served 2 terms.
  • On March 25, 1983, Michael Jackson invented the moonwalk. He, though, never actually walked on the moon.
  • The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989.
  • In 1999, everyone was scared about Y2K. On January 1, 2000, they realized that it was much ado about nothing.
  • Apple launched the iPod in 2001, followed by the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010.
  • Facebook, a site designed to tell your friends and family what you had for dinner and share cute puppy videos, was launched in 2004. The founder, who was 19 at the time, is now worth $33 billion.
  • The band Motley Crue is in the middle of its farewell tour (called “All Bad Things Must Come to an End”). Kiss has had multiple farewell tours.

This survey is inconsistent with other surveys, including the Kaiser Tracking Poll, which finds that most Americans have heard of the individual mandate but many have not yet purchased insurance. The moral of the story for brokers is that there are still plenty of people out there who need to be educated and who need insurance, so you should get ready now for a big open enrollment season.

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