As Deadline Looms, Some Still Wary of ACA

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wendy Gonzalez sits with Maria Mena, an insurance agent as she purchases insurance under the Affordable Care Act at a store setup in the Mall of Americas on March 20, 2014 in Miami, FL. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Another deadline, another extension to sign up for the Affordable Care Act—the White House is expected to extend the deadline to mid-April for those who cannot enroll in healthcare plans by March 31. 

As of March 17th, over five million Americans had signed up. The Obama Administration is projecting that at least six million will be registered by Monday.

Eric Sturgis, a 47-year-old business owner from Tacoma, WA, tried to sign up at but, because of tech issues, he's still in limbo. Others like Chad Lindsey, a 31-year-old from Arlington, TX, say it's cheaper to pay the fine than to pay for insurance because his deductible is so high.


Chad Lindsey and Eric Strugis

Produced by:

Allie Ferguson, Mythili Rao and Schuyler Swenson


T.J. Raphael

Comments [9]

Richard Dextraze from South Carolina

I continue to be confused and disappointed that nothing is mentioned with regard to getting the advice of a licensed insurance agent. Most health insurance agents were the first to become certified to help folks with ACA subsidies. Insurance agents are experts in identifying the best plans and helping people pick a plan that includes their doctor or hospital. Agent advice is free and there is no difference in price buying from an agent, the exchange or direct from the company. Agents are licensed and educated in their field while navigators and assisters are not. Agents can advise regarding all available plans, but navigators can only talk about plans offered on the exchange and their is more stuff out there.
I listen to the Take Away almost every day and am disappointed that John's reporting completely missed one of the most important resources available to anyone...the free advice of a licensed health insurance agent.

Mar. 27 2014 05:07 PM
linn from Pa

I agree with Chad and Grant. Have listened to the interviews on NPR and PBS, read articles online, and am more and more disgusted by the system/business. Since I need insurance I'm willing to pay what I can afford, which is about $150 a month (right now). However I'm stuck in that grey zone - making below poverty (which means I can't get the discounts that folks making above poverty are eligible for - why?) but not eligible for Medicaid (which has not been expanded in Pa.) Not able to work full-time. Hey, I'm not asking for free, just a sliding scale. Deductibles and Out-of-pocket is just wrong. I am fit, eat smart, never smoked, mid-aged, no health issues until this year (from no fault of my own). Beyond frustrated.

To the single dad: Please find a way to pay the $59 a month. Your kid needs you to be covered as much as you need your kid to be covered. Maybe your employer can pay you for an extra hour of work per week. I hope things work out.

Mar. 26 2014 04:17 PM
Robert Thomas from Santa Clara

Mr. Lindsey may be surprised to find that the penalty is somewhat more substantial than he imagines it will be.

Honestly, have several generations of kids who've had their parents pay their auto insurance resulted in a population unaware of how any insurance even works?

Since Mr. Lindsey lives in Arlington, Texas, we can take for granted that he has easy access to a variety of firearms. Does he agree to provide his own self-annihilating round If he contracts an expensive disease or sustains a costly injury?

Mar. 26 2014 03:43 PM
Grant MD from New York

The only ones benefiting from the ACA are the insurance companies. An extremely high deductible does not make it affordable. Many specialists are not participating in the plans. The insurances put the burden on us primary care physicians to collect higher copays and chase after deductibles from patients and fight to get very little reimbursement.

Mar. 26 2014 03:35 PM
Janine Iwaya from Portland, Oregon

To the guy who was reluctant to spend $59 a month ($708 a year) on health insurance I say - look at it this way: yes, your deductible would be $6,000 a year but your goal is NOT to reach that and have to pay it but rather to have someone in your corner IF you should have a major reason to need them there. It is called insurance because it insures you have a backup plan. That alone is worth the monthly payment BUT, there are a few more reasons, often overlooked in conversation about yes or no on insurance. Of course the big reason is peace of mind, beyond that the reality is you get a better rate when you do need to see a doctor, get prescriptions, go to a chiropractor, get glasses or find an affordable gym. This is because those service providers are under contract to your insurance company. So for the $708 a year you will have access to more than peace of mind but read on.

When you carry the card it will open doors, it will let you in where and when and as quickly as you need, very few questions asked. The co-pays can be as high as $40 but is usually $20 (on top of the $708 a year) but it all add s to your deductible or chips away at that need to have the $6,000 on hand. There is now no fee for some basics like an annual physical, flu shot or a mammogram (including the male equivalent of that, whatever it is).

With the card there are, again, discounts on drugs (mail ordering, for instance) and discounts or no charge on services, such as for diabetes and high blood pressure and their many follow-up programs. You get, depending on your plan, a break on chiropractic services and on eyeglasses, to name two. Then there are discounts on classes from exercise to cooking healthier because staying healthy and preventing problems is now the name of the health insurance game, or so it seems to me.

Mar. 26 2014 02:45 PM
Tom from Petoskey, Mi

I was able to log onto the ACA website and was done with the process in one hour including knowing my physician was in the pool and what other locations in my area were covered. It was one of the easiest websites I've ever used. I logged in yesterday at 7:30 a.m.

Mar. 26 2014 12:52 PM
Eve Heller from Vienna Austria

Thanks for the informative show. Really helpful to me way over here in Vienna Austria where I live as an expatriate with dual citizenship. I tried calling in but the show had just ended. I'm trying to figure out whether I have any obligations. I have health insurance thanks to my husband who is an Austrian citizen, so I really don't need further coverage. Yet I'm wondering whether I need to fill out some kind of form that confirm this fact...So far I haven't been able to figure this out via the website...

Mar. 26 2014 11:30 AM
Chad from Arlington

I also don't believe insurance should be a for profit business, and I don't want to support something I don't believe in. Maybe this is flawed thinking, but if insurance wasn't a bad deal for the majority of people who have it, insurance companies wouldn't be able to make such great profits. I do think healthcare is a right rather than a privilege and I want everyone to have access to real affordable healthcare, but what is being offered is not affordable.

Mar. 26 2014 10:52 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Wary? How about that it doesn't cover 60% of MS drugs?

Mar. 26 2014 09:23 AM

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