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Report: majority of uninsured Americans unaware of March 31 deadline

Despite an aggressive public outreach program for the Affordable Care Act, a new poll suggests Americans are still unaware of the details surrounding the healthcare law.
By Ananth Baliga Follow @antbaliga Contact the Author   |   March 26, 2014 at 6:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- Nearly six in ten uninsured Americans are unaware of the March 31 deadline for open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

A majority of those uninsured said that they were unaware of the deadline and will most probably go without coverage this year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll released Wednesday. The poll shows that the massive promotional and outreach program undertaken by the administration, headed by the president himself, has failed to reach the masses.

Awareness of the deadline was not the only issue. Forty percent of those polled said that they were unaware of federal subsides that would help cover premiums, something used by the administration to promote the law. More than half did not know the law expanded Medicaid, something that has been partially embraced by Republicans as well.

The survey comes as the Obama administration announced an extension in the March 31 deadline to allow applicants more time to enroll. The federal exchange and call centers have been receiving record traffic, according to officials. Around 1.2 million people visited the federal exchange site and 500,000 called the help line the first two days of this week.

The deadline is crucial information regarding the enrollment, as those who fail to register by March 31 will face penalties in 2014 of $95 or 1 percent of their income, which ever is greater. Americans who have had a major life change, like the loss of a job, will be allowed to enroll after this period.

[Kaiser Family Foundation]

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