Health Insurance Coverage and the ACA: Results of the 2013 Survey of Mississippi Adults

The Center for Mississippi Health Policy commissioned researchers at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to survey non-elderly Mississippi adults to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.  The Center has prepared an Issue Brief that summarizes the results of this survey, which was conducted in September and October of 2013.  A copy of the full UAB report containing all survey responses, as well as the survey methodology, is also available under Related Links.

KEY Findings related to the ACA

Survey respondents report little knowledge of the ACA or the Health Insurance Marketplace (formerly known as “Exchanges”). Three out of five (60%) say they know nothing or only a little about the ACA, and 70 percent know little or nothing about the Health Insurance Marketplace. Similarly, only 37 percent say they have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will affect them or their families.

Mississippi adults do not generally have a favorable opinion of the ACA. Almost half (46%) do not support the law, while 37 percent support it, and the remainder (17%) were not sure. Forty percent think that they will be worse off as a result of the ACA, while 22 percent think they will be better off, and 38 percent think they will be unaffected by the law or don’t know what the impact will be. Interestingly, respondents showed support for many of the components of the ACA, with the notable exception of the individual mandate.

UAB Survey Responses Q14

The survey also sought to determine the extent of knowledge about the option to expand Medicaid under the ACA:

  • 76% reported knowing nothing or not much about the Medicaid expansion option
  • 69% said they had not heard or were not sure what actions the Governor and Legislature had taken in Mississippi in regard to the option
  • 17% reported that the Governor and Legislature had decided not to expand Medicaid
  • 5% thought state officials had decided to expand Medicaid
  • 9% said state leaders had not decided whether to expand Medicaid or not

Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of the Uninsured

Approximately 23 percent of survey respondents reported not being currently covered by health insurance, with most being uninsured for over two years.  Their responses reflect a low level of awareness:

  • 77% reported having little or no knowledge about the ACA
  • 79% reported little or no knowledge of the Health Insurance Marketplace
  • 66% were not aware of the open enrollment period that began October 1, 2013
  • 73% said they did not have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will affect them or their family

The findings of this survey illustrate the lack of knowledge about the Health Insurance Marketplace and the open enrollment period, particularly among uninsured adults in Mississippi. The analysis provides insight into the possible reasons for low enrollment rates. The survey indicates that while the uninsured value health insurance coverage and indicate interest in potentially buying coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, knowledge and cost barriers must be overcome.

For More Information

Copies of the issue brief can be downloaded HERE. Copies of the complete report can be downloaded HERE.  Printed copies of the issue brief are available by contacting the Center for Mississippi Health Policy at 601-709-2133 or by e-mail at info@mshealthpolicy.com.