BUSINESS
11/08/2013 09:01 am ET Updated Nov 08, 2013

The Uninsured Are Ignoring Key Part Of Obamacare, Gallup Poll Finds

One of the key parts of President Obama’s health care reform law is largely being ignored, according to a new poll.

Just 22 percent of uninsured Americans plan on getting health insurance through the government exchanges -- the websites that help you sign up for coverage -- or have already done so, a Gallup poll released Friday found. What’s more, less than one-quarter of uninsured Americans who say they plan on buying coverage through the exchanges have visited one so far, according to Gallup.

The poll's results are troubling, suggesting that uninsured Americans aren’t responding to a part of Obamacare that’s critical to its success. In order to keep health insurance prices at a reasonable level healthy young adults need to sign up for coverage. If the only uninsured Americans that end up using the exchanges are those that are desperate for coverage, like the sick and elderly, it could push up premiums for everyone, threatening the exchanges’ success.

It probably doesn't help that the website for the federal exchanges, Healthcare.gov, has been plagued by problems since its launch on Oct. 1, and as Gallup notes, it's possible that some uninsured Americans are waiting to explore the exchanges until the problems are fixed.

Website issues may have already pushed people away from the exchanges for good. Private insurers saw a boost in inquiries on their hotlines and websites in recent weeks, as Americans struggled to enroll for coverage on Healthcare.gov, according to Reuters. In Delaware, one of the states using the federal marketplace website, just four people have enrolled so far.

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