Even in Kentucky, which championed the 2010 health care law by expanding Medicaid and running its own insurance marketplace, about half of poor people say they have heard little about the Affordable Care Act, according to a Harvard University study published Monday in Health Affairs.
Awareness of Obamacare was even lower in Arkansas and Texas—two states that have not embraced the law as warmly. The study — which surveyed nearly 3,000 low-income residents in the three states last December– found 55 percent of those Texans and 57 percent of those Arkansans had heard little or nothing about the law’s extension of health coverage. Arkansas expanded Medicaid eligibility to cover more people under the law, but the state legislature prohibited spending public money to promote that or the federal subsidies available to help people buy private Obamacare plans. Texas did not expand Medicaid and restricted private groups wanting to help people enroll in new insurance options.
Such assistance was critical to whether people completed the application for coverage process, the study found. In fact, enrollment assistance led to a nearly 10 percentage point increase in the probability of people getting coverage, the study found.