Denver - Approval for the Affordable Care Act is lower in Colorado than the nationwide average.
The law goes into effect on Tuesday. The Colorado exchange will open that day. It is a place for people who need health insurance to see their options and buy a policy.
A USA Today/9NEWS poll shows more than half of Coloradan's don't understand the law and don't like it.
Two of every three people call the health care law "confusing." When a group of uninsured Coloradans came together for a focus group, the answers ranged from "government boondoggle" to "a huge relief."
USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page traveled to Colorado for the research project.
"They are confused. They have a lot of misinformation that underscores how difficult the task is going to be to implement this big new law," Page said.
READ: Frequently-asked questions about the Affordable Care Act
A key to implementing the law is the Colorado exchange. It is a non-profit website. The online site, 56 walk-in centers and a staffed phone bank are all designed to support people who are new to health insurance. Through the exchange, people can also see if they qualify for a tax credit or Medicaid. On the Colorado exchange, 18 insurers will offer a total of 541 plans for individuals and small groups.
Many people don't know the exchange is available.
"Not one of them understood how they were supposed to go onto the Colorado state exchange and sign up for health insurance," Page said.
She said some of them didn't know the new law will require them to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014.
Lindy Hinman is Connect for Heath's chief operating officer. Hinman says the task of informing the state about a complex issue is perhaps the greatest challenge they face.
"We are already airing commercials," Hinman said. "You'll see us on light rail and bill boards."
USA Today hosted a focus group of ten people from the Denver area who don't have health insurance. Nine out of ten participants have jobs but, for one reason or another, do not have health insurance.
"I think this is going to be a cobbled up mess," a focus group participant said.
"I won't be so worried," another participant said. "I'm happy about where things are headed with health care."
However, none of them understood how they were supposed to go onto the Colorado state exchange and sign up for health insurance.
"We also found a lot of hope [from] people who don't have healthcare now and have been avoiding getting medical care," Page said. "[They] are looking to this new law, in some cases, as a life saver."
People who need insurance have six months to pick a plan and sign up.
58% of uninsured Coloradans say they will buy health insurance
37% say they still won't
Will it work? No one knows for sure.
Hinman believes more information will translate to more acceptance of the process.
"I do believe there is misinformation out there and a lack of information about who we are," Hinman said.
Source: USA TODAY/Princeton Survey Research phone poll of 704 Colorado adults taken Sept. 11-16; margin of error +/- 4 percentage points. USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll of 1,506 adults nationwide taken Sept. 4-8. Error margin +/- 3 points.
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