As the clock ticks toward the end of the open enrollment period for buying health insurance, a new survey released recently by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (NAHH) has found that many Hispanic Americans – particularly those who are uninsured – don’t understand how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect them and are unsure about the enrollment process.

The results of the 2014 Healthy Americas Survey – a bilingual phone survey of more than 800 respondents from across the country conducted Feb. 16 to March 2 – come roughly two weeks before the ACA’s open enrollment deadline of March 31 to buy health insurance. People without health insurance after this deadline will be fined.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – the government agency in charge of the ACA’s rollout – Hispanics have one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, with 1 in 3 lacking health insurance. 

“The most important finding, given that we are headed into the last couple weeks of open enrollment under the ACA, is that most uninsured Hispanics have not looked online, either at health.gov or their state’s insurance marketplace, for information about coverage,” says Adolph Falcón, NAHH’s senior vice president. “The other main finding is many uninsured Hispanics are telling us that in-person assistance is the most helpful way to make choices. Unfortunately, the national push around the ACA has not focused on in-person assistance; it has focused more on technology.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 82 percent of uninsured Hispanics have not looked for information on healthcare.gov or their state’s marketplace website. (The top reason given for not using these sites is that the respondent had not heard about them.)
  • 68 percent of uninsured Hispanics said in-person assistance is the most helpful way for people to choose a health plan and enroll.
  • 62 percent of uninsured Hispanics reported they do not have enough information about the ACA to understand how it will impact them and their families.
  • 46 percent of uninsured Hispanics reported that they have heard “only a little” or “nothing at all” about the deadline to have insurance or pay a fine. 
  • 64 percent of uninsured Hispanics reported that they have heard “only a little” or “nothing at all” about health insurance exchanges or marketplaces under the ACA.
  • 72 percent of uninsured Hispanics who say they plan to enroll in a health plan reported price would be the determining factor in which plan they choose.
  • 48 percent of uninsured Hispanics reported that they have heard “nothing at all” about ACA subsidies to help pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

The survey was conducted by NAHH’s research arm, the Healthy Americas Institute at the University of Southern California.