Kaiser Family Foundation CEO: Enrolling Uninsured Under PPACA Will Get Tougher With Time

Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges succeeded in meeting their enrollment goal for the first open sign-up period, expanding coverage will be more difficult going forward, Kaiser Family Foundation CEO and president Drew Altman writes in The Wall Street Journal.

Surveys have shown that 8 million to 9.5 million fewer American adults are uninsured now compared with last year, before the PPACA was fully implemented. However, tens of millions still don't have coverage, and they will be harder to reach than those who signed up for health plans during the first open enrollment period, according to Mr. Altman.

"Those who enrolled last year during the first open-enrollment season were more likely to want coverage and were best able to navigate the process to get it," he writes. "After open enrollment this fall and the one after that, the uninsured will gradually become a smaller and different group. Increasingly, they will be people who have been without insurance for a long time or who have never had it; people who are even less familiar with insurance choices and components such as premiums and deductibles, as well as unfamiliar with the tax credits offered under the [PPACA]."

The remaining uninsured will be more likely to be men and minorities with language barriers and limited education, according to Mr. Altman. Although increasing penalties for not having insurance under the PPACA's individual mandate will likely motivate some to enroll, Mr. Altman writes there will be a growing need for targeted, community-based outreach and enrollment services as the uninsured become harder to reach.

More Articles on the Uninsured:
Survey: Rate of Uninsured Falls to 15%
4 Challenges That Could Hinder PPACA Success  
10 States With Highest, Lowest Uninsured Rates Post PPACA 


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