Disability? Truck Insurance? Americans Have the Wrong Idea About Health Care Reform

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Americans not only don’t have a handle on health care reform, which is scheduled to roll out in full force next year; many consumers don’t even know it’s the law of the land.

An April poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 42% are “unaware” that the Affordable Care Act is law. Another 49% of Americans don’t know enough about the new law to weigh how it may affect their lives.

What’s worse, the demographic the law is designed to protect — the underinsured and families struggling with poverty — don’t know much about the ACA and its impact. According to Kaiser, 58% of America’s uninsured and 56% of low-income households say they “lack enough information to understand how the ACA will affect their families.”

Another study from Indianapolis-based WellPoint says Americans have a misguided view of exactly what health care reform brings to the table. It says heath care consumers are counting on insurance for their pets, homeowners and cars and trucks to be included when health care reform kicks in.

Many Americans are also apparently counting on getting free disability insurance from health care reform — a huge misperception, WellPoint says.

“As this fall draws near, and consumers prepare to purchase their health insurance on the public exchanges, it will be important for them to know that disability insurance will not be one their options,” says Bill Smith, president of WellPoint’s disability and life division. “Instead, they will need to purchase disability insurance either through their employer or out on the open market.”

Smith says that one in four Americans will suffer an illness or injury that will keep them earning income at some point in their pre-retirement lives. Disability insurance, which provides income for afflicted individuals when they can’t work, is a big financial necessity for Americans, but it’s something they’re going to have to buy for themselves.

The insuranceweb site AffordableInsuranceProtection.com says the average cost of disability insurance amounts to between 1% and 3% of your annual income. For an average 40-year-old, that amounts to a premium of $54 per month.

The WellPoint survey points out that 47% of U.S. adults are living paycheck to paycheck, underscoring the need for good disability insurance — up from 32% last year.

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