The Washington Post, January 28, 2016
by Lena H. Sun
As the third open enrollment season for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act comes to a close on Sunday, a new poll reveals that many uninsured Americans still aren't paying attention.
The poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Thursday, found that the majority of the uninsured say they don't know the deadline for getting coverage this year. Virtually no one knew that the fine for going without health insurance in 2016 has jumped to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of household income -- whichever is higher.
The acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said officials have known that a multi-year effort will be required to reach people not accustomed to having health insurance. "This is exactly what we envisioned all along would be the most important challenge for us," Andy Slavitt said.
During a media briefing Thursday afternoon, CMS officials said traffic on the federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, was up 50 percent and that 14 states were seeing at least a 20 percent increase in enrollment compared to the same week a year ago. They emphasized that the Sunday night deadline for getting coverage would not be extended.