Study: O-Care targets know little about options

Some of the core groups that the Obama administration hopes to net in its enrollment efforts know little about the options available to them under ObamaCare, a new study found.

According to an analysis by the Urban Institute, young people, the uninsured, and the poor who might be eligible for subsidies know less about the new healthcare exchanges than their older, insured and wealthier counterparts. 

For example, 22.6 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 said they had not heard about the insurance marketplaces, compared to 16.4 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds, and 11.5 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds.

Twenty-seven percent of those in the lowest income bracket are unaware of the exchanges, as opposed to 15 percent and 11.3 percent of those in the two higher brackets. Almost a quarter of the uninsured, 23.4 percent, said they didn’t know about the marketplaces, while another 24.7 said they knew of them but have no plans to check them out.

The Obama administration is engaged in a full-on public relations blitz to get people covered ahead of the March 31 open enrollment deadline for 2014. The White House has said 4 million people have selected a plan so far, and that it expects a flood of enrollees before the deadline.

The administration needs a substantial number of young people, who are typically healthier, to enroll to keep premiums from spiking. In February, the administration said about a quarter of enrollees were in the 18- to 34-year-old range, but analysts say closer to 40 percent is ideal.

The White House is also conducting a micro-targeted effort to attract Hispanic and black enrollees. Both groups have some of the highest rates of uninsured in the country, and some data indicates that they’ve been slow to enroll.

There was good news for ObamaCare in the study. Fifty-two percent of the uninsured said they had either looked at their coverage options, or planned to do so. And of those who have looked, the majority is not just window-shopping — about 60 percent said they were actively seeking to purchase insurance.