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New Survey Finds Most Montanans Without Health Insurance Want Coverage

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The University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research has released the results of an extensive survey that questioned Montanans about health insurance.  The survey polled 4,662 Montanans between September 2011 and February 2012, and found that 20 percent did not have insurance.“We were simply interested in why people were uninsured,” said BBER interim healthcare director Paul Polzin. “The big finding is that 76 percent of those who were uninsured here in Montana were involuntarily uninsured. I think some people think that many people are uninsured because they don’t want to be insured, but that’s not what this survey showed.”

Of those without insurance, 19 percent also claimed to be in fair to poor health, a much larger percentage than those with insurance.

“We also asked people to assess their health,” Polzin said. “Was it good, fair, poor, so forth, and, of those that said they had fair to poor health, almost half of them were uninsured. That is a significant problem.”

The study also found that those who had insurance, often knew very little about it.

“They have a relatively low level of knowledge about their insurance” Polzin said. “For example, they didn’t know what their deductible was, they didn’t know what their insurance rates were. So we were kind of surprised that people that do have insurance really don’t know some of these important facts.”

Polzin said the study results indicate that many of the uninsured may seek coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. ACA coverage is set to begin on January 1.

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