More than half of the general public is clueless that 2015 is the year they must show that they are covered or pay a penalty.

It’s less than one month from April 15th (Tax Day). For those getting a tax refund, it’s a time of relief.  Several million people who are expecting a refund may end up with nasty surprise instead.  

This year as many as 6 million Americans will lose some or all of their refund to the IRS because they did not carry healthcare coverage in 2014 – thanks to the individual mandate in ObamaCare. Too bad only a little more than half of Americans and even more uninsured Americans know it. Confusion and resulting anger are almost certain to ensue as Americans find out the hard way.

Healthcare research organization the Kaiser Family Foundation released findings from a recent poll that found 53 percent of the general public (and 57 percent of those without health insurance) know that this is the first year they are required to disclose their healthcare coverage status. About 32 percent named the wrong year as the one when the requirement is due to kick in and another 16 percent were also clueless about when the requirement begins.

We know, but many Americans still don’t, that last year was the first time Americans were required by law to have some kind of healthcare coverage or face a tax penalty unless they qualify for an exemption. This year is the first time that penalty is being levied, and as many as 4 percent of all taxpayers or 6 million people are expected to be affected. Another 15 to 30 million people (10 to 20 percent of taxpayers) get a pass excusing them from the tax because they qualified for an exemption.

CNBC reports:

With April 15 only weeks away, nearly half of all Americans don't know they're required this year to declare on their tax returns if they have health insurance, a survey released Thursday reveals.

Even among those who have already filed their returns, a surprising number either didn't see the box they had to check to indicate health-coverage status, or are unsure if they did, the Kaiser Family Foundation survey found.

Among respondents who have already completed and filed their returns themselves, 76 percent said they had seen "a place to indicate whether they had health insurance," according to Kaiser.

But the remaining self-filers either didn't see such a place, or were unsure if they did see it, the poll found.

Continued ignorance about the key ACA feature recently led the federal government and most states to announce a special enrollment period in Obamacare insurance plans for tax season, after the original Feb. 15 sign-up deadline had passed.

The grace period, which began in most of the U.S. last Sunday, allows uninsured people who didn't know they would be subject to the Obamacare penalty until tax season to sign-up for a 2015 health plan.

A top federal official last week said that the grace period is a one-time deal: it will not be offered in the future.

In other results, the Kaiser survey found what Altman called a "a very significant narrowing" of the gap between the percentage of people who view Obamacare unfavorably and those who view it favorably.

As of this month, 43 percent view the law unfavorably, and 41 percent view it favorably.

The Kaiser poll also found strong support—regardless of political affiliation—for the subsidies that help most Obamacare customers pay for their insurance. Those subsidies, or tax credits, are at risk of being eliminated in at least 34 states served by due to a pending Supreme Court case expected to be decided in June.

That millions of Americans, particularly those without health insurance, still know nothing about Obamacare’s penalty is nothing new. And frankly, it doesn’t seem to be as much of a priority for the Administration compared with the launch of ObamaCare in 2013. Several hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were spent advertising ObamaCare that year. Yet, the only PR campaign around the tax penalties seems only to be the IRS belly-aching that we should expect a horrible tax season because they don’t have the bandwidth to deal with tax filings this year.

Confusion, penalties, and higher costs are just some of the problems that fuel angst over ObamaCare. Perhaps that’s part of why more Americans still disapprove of ObamaCare 43 percent to 41.

If you’re still waiting for real healthcare reform, you’re not alone—and you’ll probably have even more company after this tax season.

Government-funded healthcare plans that we subsidize are not the kind of reform for the healthcare industry that delivers better quality care and empowers patients and doctors. At best, it’s just forcing all Americans to share in the pain. Instead of "shared responsibility payments" they should be called "shared responsibility pain-ments."