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August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: The Uninsured and the Health Reform Law

The August Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that even though 32 million uninsured Americans will gain health insurance under the ACA, only about half of non-elderly Americans currently without coverage say they are familiar with the chief components in the law designed to achieve this goal. Fifty-two percent of the uninsured say they are aware the law will provide subsidies to help low- and moderate-income people without insurance purchase it. And 47 percent are aware that Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income adults.

Perhaps because awareness of these coverage expansions is low, nearly half of the uninsured do not expect to be affected at all by the health reform law, either positively or negatively. But three in ten do say it will help them get health care. Fourteen percent expect to be hurt by the law, mainly because they worry they will be required to buy coverage they cannot afford.

On another health policy issue in the news, two-thirds of Americans say they support the recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to require health insurance plans to pay for the full cost of birth control and other preventive services for women under the new law. Support is roughly equal between women and men. Find more on this month’s tracking poll and a companion data note that focuses on individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance online.

About Half of Uninsured Aware of  Medicaid Expansion and Subsidies