The federal health law’s individual mandate, one of the key building blocks of the insurance overhaul, remains controversial as the October start date approaches for enrolling in new online marketplaces. Individuals who don’t get insurance through work will shop for insurance on these websites for policies that will take effect in January.
The mandate, which requires most people to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty, survived a constitutional challenge last year in the Supreme Court but remains under attack by conservatives. In July, the Republican-led House voted to delay the mandate, although the measure is not likely to get a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Despite all that attention to the mandate, 26 percent of Americans aren’t aware of the requirement or didn’t think the law included it, according to a March 2013 Kaiser Family Foundation poll.