New health law can help, no matter what you might have heard

By Nancy MetcalfConsumer Reports

The latest tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the new health law has become more unpopular in the last month—even though it’s already helped 9 million people get new coverage. Even worse, nearly half of uninsured Americans, the people who the law was designed to help the most, believe it will make them worse off, and they think they cannot afford it. Which may be because nearly half of uninsured respondents still don’t realize that the law provides financial assistance to help low- and moderate-income Americans get insured.

How could that be? Well, exactly 50 percent of poll respondents said they had not seen or read a single news report about the health care law, though the Kaiser poll was taken in mid-January after three months of nonstop coverage of the disastrous rollout of and the frantic (and successful) efforts to fix it. Of those who had seen or read news accounts, 27 percent said those news accounts were about how the new law was harming people, compared with only 13 percent who said they were about how the law was helping.

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If you’ve been reading our health law coverage regularly, you know better. But you may have uninsured friends and relatives who don't. Do them a favor and pass along these bits of information.

  1. You have until March 31 to get covered, or you’ll be fined for going uninsured.
  2. You stand an excellent chance of qualifying for financial help to get good insurance.
  3. But only if you purchase coverage through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
  4. Consumer Reports’ free interactive will tell you all you need to know about how to get started.

Got a question for our health insurance expert? Ask it here; be sure to include the state you live in. And if you can't get enough health insurance news here, follow me on Twitter @NancyMetcalf.

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