Quantcast

Why those who need Obamacare the most might have the hardest time signing up for it

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2 2013 4:57 p.m. MDT

In this Oct. 1, 2013 file photo, Lillian Ardon, right, a certified application counselor with Harris Health System, helps Vanessa Danielle Cotton, left, with her Affordable Care Act marketplace application in Houston. As Texas residents encountered difficulties with the website for a second day, those trained to assist with the process said callers are simply asking for a nearby location where they can complete the process the old-fashioned way: in person and on paper.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

The Affordable Care Act has faced much well-documented opposition amidst its controversial roll-out, but one of the more surprising criticisms is aimed at the website used to aid those who want to enroll in the program.

As The New York Times wrote Tuesday, the focus on the website to aid the new law's implementation may have “driven a larger wedge between technologically adept Americans and those who have yet to fully embrace the social Web and mobile technology.”

In other words, if the point of the Affordable Care Act is to make health care more accessible, its reliance on technology might have an adverse effect on those who need it most.

According to a study released last year (but re-emphasized Tuesday) by the Pew Research Center, 21 percent of uninsured Americans (i.e., the primary demographic of the ACA) don’t use the Internet.

According to Maeve Duggan, a research assistant at the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life project, demographic groups that are least likely to use the Internet — those in lower-income households, Hispanics and those who have not attended college, to name a few — are also least likely to have health care coverage.

“Some of these groups are also less likely to seek health information online in general,” Duggan writes, citing the same study.

“One group that may benefit from online access to health exchanges is young people,” Duggan continues. “When it came to seeking information specifically about health insurance, online young adults were equally likely as older Internet users to have sought that kind of information.”

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and a content writer for the Moneywise page on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @jjfeinauer.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS