Recent news indicates that health insurers, states and employers may not be prepared for health insurance exchanges. A new report shows that consumers are in the same boat.

According to a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International and released by, while 40 percent of Americans expect health care reform to have a major effect on their lives and 39 percent forecast a minor effect, 90 percent of Americans don’t know when the new health insurance exchanges will open.

The new state and federal health insurance exchanges will be available for online and telephone enrollments beginning on Oct. 1, 2013, and coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

Consumers are more aware of other aspects of health care reform. Of the 1,006 U.S. adults who participated in the study, 73 percent correctly answered that health plans cannot deny coverage based on preexisting health conditions. And 66 percent accurately said that health plans must extend coverage to dependent children up to age 26.

The health insurance exchanges are a core tenet of the individual mandate that will require all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a fine. As a result, tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans are expected to gain access to health insurance.

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