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Exchange awareness growing

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Slow but steady. That’s maybe the best way to describe the increased public awareness in the exchanges.

Analysts at the Kaiser Foundation have published data supporting just conclusion, among others, in a summary of results from a telephone survey of 1,503 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

About a third of all of the participants said they had heard “some” or “a lot” about their states’ exchange programs by mid-August, up from 22 percent in June.

The percentage who said they’d heard nothing dropped to 33 percent, falling from 45 percent.

But the analysts found that exchange promoters still struggle to reach the uninsured, poor people and younger people.

About 43 percent of uninsured adults under age 43 said they’ve heard nothing about the exchange system, and 38 percent of people with annual household income less than $40,000 had heard nothing.

But in a boost to the administration’s efforts to reach people online, the study also found that a lot of uninsured Americans shop there.

The agencies building the new public exchange system hope to hold down enrollment costs by getting as many people as possible to sign up online, leading some to speculate just how likely uninsured people are to have the computers, Internet access and skills needed to shop online.

And analysts found that uninsured people polled were less likely to be frequent Web shoppers but almost as likely as members of the general population to have made at least one purchase online.

About 63 percent of uninsured people have bought something using the Internet, and 19 percent said they have been frequent Internet shoppers.

About 72 percent of all survey participants said they had bought something online, and 35 percent said they often make purchases online.

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