WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As states prepare their health insurance exchanges for open enrollment beginning Oct. 1, a new survey from CVS Caremark shows that while there has been an overall increase in awareness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many of those eligible to enroll in health exchanges are asking for help. To assist customers, CVS Caremark will roll out a company wide information and outreach program.
"We have a tremendous opportunity to help Americans understand the new healthcare law and how it affects them so consumers receive the coverage that best fits their families," stated Helena Foulkes, EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer of CVS Caremark.
The survey results, based on a sample of over 1,000 respondents, found general awareness of the ACA has increased to 74%, up from 57% as seen in a similar 2011 CVS Caremark survey. But the new survey found that 36% of respondents who are likely to enroll in health exchanges need more information and help in evaluating the insurance exchange process. What's more, perceptions about cost remain the biggest barrier to the likelihood of enrolling — and lack of knowledge could prove costly: Only 48% of those who are eligible for a subsidy believe that they are.
The CVS Caremark survey also found that pharmacies will be a primary resource to meet the needs of uninsured Americans, with 68% of those surveyed expecting retail pharmacies to offer health insurance information in-store and/or online. Among those asking for help, Hispanics newer to the country and the youngest group surveyed (aged 18 to 35) were significantly more likely to say they need help understanding the exchanges.
In an effort to fill the information gap, CVS Caremark will roll out a company wide information and outreach program to help customers gain access to critical health insurance marketplace information, including retail events and brochure displays at its more than 7,400 retail stores and 650 MinuteClinic locations. Information will also be available online at cvs.com/insurance.
"Even among the 50 million Americans who were uninsured in the last year, most filled at least one prescription," stated Foulkes. "Pharmacies hold the key to educating the public about their healthcare options and helping them on their path to better health."
Like this story? Find us on Facebook for more insight, analysis and the latest in drug store news. Join the conversation.