A telephone survey of 1,006 adults across the nation in March finds large numbers believe the health reform law will have major effect on their lives, but 90 percent of respondents don’t know when state health insurance exchanges to ease the comparing and buying of insurance will open. The exchanges are expected to operational on Oct. 1, 2013, for coverage that begins in January.

Online vendor InsuranceQuotes.com commissioned the survey, which Princeton Survey Research Associates International conducted. While the survey used a nationally representative sample of the population and was weighed to correct demographic discrepancies, it was conducted in English only.

Forty percent of respondents said reform will affect them in a major way, while 39 percent think the effect will be minor, and 16 percent expect no effect. Another 5 percent did not know or declined to answer. Many respondents understood major provisions benefiting consumers, such as the prohibition on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions (73 percent) and coverage of dependent children up to age 26 (66 percent).

Almost half of respondents understand that the law limits annual out-of-pocket payments and prohibits insurers from placing a limit on the total dollar value of benefits. But only 10 percent said they are very knowledgeable of the law and one-fifth are not all at knowledgeable.

More information, including tips for shopping via insurance exchanges, is available here.

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