For many in N.J., Affordable Care Act not yet on radar

A new poll finds many New Jersey residents are not well informed about the specifics of Obamacare.

Only about a third of the Garden State residents surveyed by the Monmouth University Polling Institute say they’ve heard much about the new health care exchanges where people will be able to shop for health insurance beginning Tuesday.

That will soon change, said David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “Certainly it’s been all over the news, but I think until you start to say, ‘Now what does this mean for me?’ do you drill down and start to look at what the implications are,” Knowlton said. “The interesting thing, though, is more than half are saying if they have to buy insurance, they’ve looked at the exchange, and they’re more familiar with the exchanges than anybody else.”

About 45 percent of New Jersey residents surveyed did not know that the Affordable Care Act requires almost all Americans to have health insurance by next year or pay a penalty.

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More than 40 percent of New Jersey residents predict their health care costs will increase under Obamacare, Knowlton said.

“People are concerned their costs are going to escalate rapidly. I don’t think that’s going to be as much of a concern, but that is what people are feeling,” he said. “I think that what we¹re going to see though is there is going to be more restriction on benefit.”

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