With funding from health insurance companies, hospitals and a long list of others, a group called Enroll America is taking on the task of educating us about the new insurance coverage options coming in 2014.

 

Enroll America surveyed more than 1,800 people and interviewed others in small focus groups, including some in Philadelphia.

"One gentleman thought that the mandate meant that you had to do what the doctor told you," said Martine Apodaca, Enroll America's director of public education. "Another gentleman thought that the whole thing had been thrown out, or would be when the new Congress came in."

The researchers found an overwhelming level of misinformation -- and skepticism -- even when people are presented with the realities of the Affordable Care Act.

"Insurance companies can no longer do 'fine-print' gimmicks and kick you off for having a pre-existing condition. No one believes that, even when you told them that's the law of the land now," Apodaca said.

The analysts grouped the survey respondents to narrow down the best ways to communicate with each target audience. One group said "uninterested" overall and respondents said insurance was largely "unnecessary." Members of that group, many of them young men, said they don't want to be forced to pay for coverage

"When you ask them who it is they are going to go to for information for making an important health-care decision, they identify 'mom,'" Apodaca said. "I joked with our pollster that we should rename this group 'the mama's boys' because that's who's going to reach them."

The researchers also gathered data on smartphone usage, texting and Internet habits.