A new Gallup Poll shows 28 percent of uninsured Americans will pay a fine rather than enroll in the health insurance exchanges by the March deadline.Art therapist Bethany Willis, who lives in Northern Liberties, recently was laid off by the Philadelphia School District. She’s afraid health insurance through the federal exchange will be too expensive.
“I would pay the fine if I can’t afford to enroll,” said Willis, who now works waiting tables.
“Families are really struggling, you know, since the recession,” she said. “Some people like me were working, making money and had health insurance, and lost it all.”
According to the poll, those over 30, like Willis, are more likely to opt for the fine than younger people.
The policy and research director for a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for Americans from 18 to 34 concurs with that finding.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement about the law, which we would expect among young people who are often uninsured and lower income than the rest of the population and so stand to benefit disproportionately from some of these options,” said Rory O’Sullivan of Young Invincibles.
According to Gallup, familiarity with the law doesn’t make as big a difference as party affiliation in the decision to participate, according to the poll results. Forty-five percent of uninsured Republicans say they will pay a fine compared with 31 percent of Independents and 15 percent of Democrats.