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Poll: Most uninsured still undecided about buying coverage

Posted On Wed, June 5, 2013

Partially due to the pace with which they expect health insurance rates to rise, a substantial number of uninsured Americans say they may not purchase health coverage in 2014, despite the law that will go into effect requiring them to do so.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, approximately two-thirds of adult men and women indicate that they still haven't determined whether they will purchase insurance coverage on January 1, whether that's through their employer, on their own through a private plan or from one of the insurance exchanges that federal and state governments are setting up.

There appear to be a variety of reasons why the uninsured are hesitant about purchasing a plan. The survey found that for the most part, respondents had hesitance because of the projected cost. About 60 percent said that they were concerned healthcare costs would rise under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010. Meanwhile, others said that purchasing coverage would ultimately be contributing to a worse healthcare system and paying for coverage would serve as a tacit approval of it.

Laura Adams, a senior insurance analyst for a quote comparison website that commissioned the poll, indicated that many people still aren't sure how the healthcare overhaul will be manifested from a personal perspective.

"Even though the new healthcare law has been hotly debated for years, a shocking number of Americans are still unsure how it will affect them," said Adams. "Uninformed consumers risk missing key deadlines; the health exchanges will begin accepting applications in fewer than four months."

Though the government can't compel consumers to purchase health coverage, they will issue a penalty to those who go uninsured after the January 1, 2014 deadline. Individuals who decide that they're better off not buying a policy will be fined either $95 or what amounts to 1 percent of their income, whichever total is greater.

Health experts agree that going uninsured for any amount of time is fraught with risk, especially for those who have children of their own. Medical treatments can be extremely expensive, and without the proper coverage, the costs can be exorbitant and lead to financial ruin.

What to look for in a health insurance plan
While affordable price is one of the most important factors in determining the plan that's best - which can be determined by comparing health insurance quotes - there are a number of aspects that ought be taken into consideration.

For example, some policies don't provide for all of the services that a person needs, such as prescription medications or rehabilitation therapy. In these instances, it's best to check with the provider of the plan to see what is and is not provided for.

Something else to consider is whether a health insurance policy includes a doctor, or whether a physician is "in-network." Prospective or current policyholders should advise with their physician to see if they take only certain coverages.

While health insurance policies are beneficial because they traditionally provide for a variety of treatments, there's no such thing as a plan that covers every possible treatment. In short, there will be some things that the individual will have to pay their own way for in order to get. It's best to determine what these things are prior to selecting one. Additionally, the deductible, co-insurance, copayments and out-of-pocket limits should also be ascertained.

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