Survey Shows Most Don’t Know Where To Get Info On Health Exchanges


Wisconsin and other states are preparing to help people get private insurance online as part of the Affordable Care Act.

But a nationwide survey indicates consumers aren’t sure where to get information about the federal health insurance exchanges.

One way people will be able to get health coverage information and find out what federal subsidies they may qualify for is through a person called a “navigator.” Stephanie Harrison, the executive director of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, says these health insurance counselors are just one part of a huge public education campaign. She says some have unrealistic expectations for navigators.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“They think of the navigators has having super powers,” says Harrison. “All along we have been saying to people: the navigators are going to be able to fill a particular niche in the state, but a lot of work is going to be done by other people.”

In addition to navigators, there will be insurance brokers, certified application counselors, and nonprofits to help Wisconsin health care consumers understand the online market.

But a nationwide survey done by HealthPocket found navigators and nonprofits were the least likely sources of information for the 1,500 consumers asked. Instead, survey respondents said they were more likely to ask their doctor or pharmacist. But they provide care, not coverage.

Harrison says a coalition is looking at the best ways to inform people about the exchanges. “There’s still this mystery: … How are we going to reach those young adults?”, she says. “The webpage is doing a lot of social media outreach to try and get younger adults engaged in this decision-making process.”

Enrollment for the health exchanges begins October 1.