Majority of Uninsured Plan To Get Coverage by 2014, New Poll Suggests

A poll released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California shows heightened awareness of the state’s health benefit exchange and a willingness among the uninsured to seek coverage.

“It’s an important starting point,” said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of PPIC. “It’s a good start for a long-term policy change. It’s important that Californians are aware of the exchange and, among those who are uninsured, a majority plan to become insured.”

Among the results of yesterday’s poll, conducted in October on land lines and cell phones in English and Spanish:

  • 68% of Californians know about the state’s health insurance exchange. That data went across political parties, regions and demographic groups, Baldassare said. Among Californians who are not insured, 63% are aware of Covered California.
  • 66% of those who are uninsured say they will get insurance.
  • Among the “young invincibles” group (ages 18 to 44), about 72% say they will get insurance.

“We’re off to a promising start and there is a lot of work to do, obviously.” Baldassare said. “You want to raise interest in participating into actual signing-up. But it’s encouraging that there’s a majority that express an interest in the exchange.”

Baldassare said some of the people who may be hard for the exchange to reach could be the same people who were hard to reach for pollsters — people who speak languages other than Spanish and English, for instance, or people who are difficult to reach by phone.

“There’s always the issue of the hard-to-reach populations,” he said, “that’s an important caveat.”

According to the poll, Californians are split in their view of the law itself, with 44% of them in favor and 44% against it. Likely voters have a less favorable impression, with 42% for it and 51% against it.

Baldassare said future PPIC polls would focus on the likelihood of actually signing up for coverage, rather than just gauging general interest in it.

“Now with this information, we can monitor trends over time,” he said. “We will ask about signing up when that’s further along.”

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Capitol Desk Covered California Insurance