NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With the historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), overall awareness and interest of healthcare reform has reached new heights. Yet, despite the higher awareness level (92%) of healthcare reform, consumers still lack a comprehensive understanding of how any development will impact their personal healthcare and insurance issues this, according to new research released today by TNS.
The survey, conducted among 2500 U.S. adults in July 2012, shows that only 11% have a high level of understanding of most elements of the reform Act. Consumers appear to gain perceptions of PPACA from the generalities conveyed from key political leaders and overall media coverage. However, consumer opinion, primarily based on the topical information from these sources can lead to perceptions that may not be completely accurate or consistent with their best interests.
"The lack of understanding of PPACA is resulting in sharply divided opinions on its ability to impact the healthcare and insurance issues that concern the populous," says William Bruno, Vice President at TNS. "The disparity in opinion is in stark contrast to the common ground that crosses party lines when it comes to the need for healthcare reform," says Bruno.
Americans generally agree on the end goals for health reform -- appropriate and effective patient care, lower costs and easier access to coverage for all. However, when looking deeper into consumer opinion, how we get to that end is sharply divided according to political party affiliation. Among self-reported Republicans, 71% disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold PPACA, while only 9% agree. Among Democrats, only 11% disagree with the decision while 61% agree.
The ability of the PPACA to address top healthcare concerns is where opinions differ dramatically. With regard to availability of coverage, only 32% of self-reported Republicans feel that the Act will effectively address this concern while 63% of Democrats feel the act will ultimately improve availability.
There is stronger alignment, but not full understanding, by those in either party, on the PPACA's positive impact on the ability to obtain coverage with pre-existing conditions (an explicit part of the reform Act); half (51%) of Republicans and just over two thirds (68%) of Democrats believe reform will address this concern. The biggest area of disagreement is in the area of rising healthcare costs. Only 15% of Republicans believe the reform Act will have an impact on rising costs while close to one-half of Democrats feel the act will help bring healthcare spending under control.
"Looking ahead, as consumers work-through and seek to learn more about the Act's implications for themselves and their family members, it will be important for healthcare entities to clearly communicate all options and services that are available and how consumers may be able to benefit. Those brands that reach out first and develop close relationships with consumers' fundamental needs in mind will have a major impact," says Bruno.
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world's consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.
TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.
Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group's services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.
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