A new survey finds that a wide gap in health care consumers’ understanding of state health information exchanges persists as the exchanges prepare to open on October 1, 2013.

CVS Caremark commissioned the Research Intelligence Group, which conducted an online survey during May, getting responses from 1,078 adults. Seventy-four percent of respondents had a general awareness of the Affordable Care Act, up from 57 percent in a similar CVS survey in 2011.

However, 36 percent of respondents likely to enroll in an exchange need more information and assistance in understanding the process, and less than half of those eligible for a subsidized premium believe they are eligible.

The exchanges present an opportunity for drug stores to assist consumers, according to CVS Caremark, as more than two-thirds of respondents expect pharmacies to offer insurance information in the store or online. Hispanic consumers were significantly more likely to indicate they need help understanding the exchanges and they also were the youngest group surveyed. CVS will be offering events and brochure displays at its 7,400 stores and 650 MinuteClinics, with more information at cvs.com/insurance.

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