Fifty-nine percent of Mississippians polled in a recent survey said they know nothing or little about the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare. That's based on follow-up research commissioned by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy. The survey found even fewer know about the online insurance marketplaces used to sign-up for health insurance. The center's initial survey in 2013 found similar results, with 60 percent not knowing about the ACA. Executive Director, Theresa Hannah.
"People who are uninsured know even less than people who are insured. For the uninsured, almost three-quarters of them didn't even know there's was an open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act," said Hannah.
Open enrollment begins in November. Hannah found the latest research from 2014 shows a surprising drop in the uninsured from 23 percent to 15. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 61,500 Mississippians enrolled in ACA in 2014. It's now at 73,000. Hannah attributes the drop to increases in ACA and Medicaid enrollments plus a slight up-tick in private health insurance coverage. Jameson Taylor with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, doesn't think ACA is the best approach to providing health insurance.
"Some of these things we need to ask, what is the cost of that drop and is there a better way to lower the uninsurance rate for people?" said Taylor.
Corey Wiggins with the Hope Policy Institute supports ACA and says more outreach is needed.
"We have to look at it also in the broader context of educating people and making people aware of the importance of not only healthcare, but of health insurance," said Wiggins.
The survey found cost continues to be a barrier to obtaining insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The research was conducted by the Mississippi State University Social Science Center.