Public Understanding Is Poor on Health Care Reform: NAIC

Few are aware that the earliest provisions begin Sept. 23

In August, NAIC conducted a phone survey to evaluate the awareness of the public on the provisions of the new health care reform law. In results released Monday, it was obvious that many consumers were confused about when various provisions of the law took effect, with some provisions starting Sept. 23.

Jane Cline, NAIC president and West Virginia insurance commissioner, said in a statement, "Our survey findings are a clear indicator that most Americans are not aware of how soon some of the early health care changes may impact them. It's essential for consumers to understand what to expect and when to consult their state insurance departments for more information."

One provision on which consumers seem considerably better informed is the issue of coverage of children. A full 72% knew that any child with a pre-existing condition may no longer be excluded from coverage, and 70% were aware that parents could cover children up to age 26 on their own insurance.

Only half of the respondents, however, knew that employers with fewer than 50 employees did not need to provide health insurance to those employees, and 47% thought, erroneously, that all health insurance plans must cover approved preventive care and checkups without co-payment. Those qualifying for Medicare, though, will have new preventive care benefits that eliminate co-pays for annual visits; this is not mandatory, however, for all health insurance plans.

For more information about health care reform and for resources, visit the NAIC website. For those with specific questions, NAIC suggests they contact their state insurance department.

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