Health care law forum planned

Published 6:46pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

A survey released by the University of Alabama-Birmingham showed Alabamians still consider themselves not very knowledgeable when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

According to a release from the university, the study suggests there “was not enough focus on implications for Alabama residents until the Health Insurance Marketplace opened Oct. 1, 2013 — potentially affecting their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.”

“We wanted to measure and assess the knowledge so that policymakers and the public will be better informed,” Michael Morrisey, Ph.D., director of the UAB Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, said. “We did find that Alabamians do not feel well-informed about their health insurance options; only 16 percent of Alabamians believed they ‘knew a lot’ about the ACA, and 12 percent ‘knew a lot’ about the exchanges.”

In an effort to better educate area residents about the new healthcare law, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will host a public forum on the new law Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center in Selma. The forum begins at 5:30 p.m.

The survey also showed that 15 percent of Alabama residents ages 19-64 do not have health insurance and that half of Alabamians said they know little or nothing about the ACA or health insurance exchanges.

Even though a majority of Alabamians do not support the ACA in general, many support some of its provisions. And, the survey showed general support for Medicaid expansion, which would affect an estimated 331,000 people.

“We were surprised at the extent of support for an expansion of the Medicaid program, even given the unpopular view of the ACA overall,” Morrisey said.

According to UAB’s survey, nearly one-third of Alabamians, or about 819,000 people, would be eligible for a health insurance subsidy.

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