Messages missing the poor
Chollet suspects that Obamacare multimedia advertising campaigns, which have largely targeted the key "young invincibles" between ages 18 and 30, may have missed another group in need.
"Low-income, young families may have been overlooked. They're probably not spending a lot of time watching television, they never read a newspaper, and if they listen to radio, it's probably music in the car," she says.
"In communities of color, people might hear about (Obamacare) in church, but for people who are not attached to a church, I don't know how they get the information."
Too much carrot, not enough stick
Outreach efforts that emphasize Obamacare's positive tax subsidies rather than the punitive tax penalty for not having insurance may have failed to prompt action, says Sabrina Corlette, research professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.
"They found in Massachusetts, with "RomneyCare," that the individual mandate penalty absolutely motivated a lot of people to purchase insurance," she says. "The Obama administration understandably tried to emphasize the positive, but people need to understand that the mandate is not insignificant -- they could be hit with a big tax bill if they don't buy coverage."
But Morrisey says the more favorable message about the subsidies may have fallen flat with the uninsured as well.
"Someone who makes so little money that they haven't had to file taxes in the past might say, 'How is a tax credit going to help me? I don't even think about tax things because I don't have to file,'" he says.
Many are in the dark about the deadline
Also in the survey, fewer than half (48 percent) of the uninsured could correctly name March 31 as the deadline for obtaining health insurance to avoid the penalty.
"What people need to understand is that the door really closes on March 31," Corlette cautions. "If they don't sign up before then, they're out of luck until Nov. 15 unless they have one of the special enrollment situations, which happen if you lose your job or get a divorce."
Between now and March 31, "the administration needs to really amp up those marketing and outreach campaigns and meet people where they're at," she says. "It's got to be all about marketing and outreach now."
Role of states' Medicaid decisions?
One big unknown in the survey results is how many of the uninsured who plan to stay that way might qualify for Medicaid -- except that their state has chosen not to expand the program.
"If you're in one of the 24 states that did not expand their Medicaid program and you have income below 100 percent of the federal poverty line, you are not going to receive Medicaid and you're not eligible for the subsidies," says Morrisey.
"So it's not at all surprising that they're going to say it's too expensive and they're going to remain uninsured," he continues. "I'm guessing that a third of that 34 percent who will remain uninsured are in that group."
Bankrate's Health Insurance Pulse survey was conducted between Feb. 20 and March 9 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International with a nationally representative sample of 3,005 adults living in the continental United States. The questions were addressed specifically to the 299 respondents who identified themselves as uninsured. The margin of sampling error on their responses is plus or minus 6.1 percentage points.