ObamaCare Now: Colorado

Many healthy people today think it makes more sense to pay a penalty instead of pay an insurance premium, so they’re foregoing healthcare.

“What if you get cancer?” asks Catherine Huston, a 57-year-old woman. “Maybe it’s because I’m older, but I just can’t believe people think they aren’t going to need it.”

To figure out why people thought that going uninsured was a good idea, USA Today found 10 uninsured Coloradans together to discus the Affordable Care Act. Here’s what happened:

  • 4 were happy to finally have access to affordable health insurance
  • 3 tried to sign up, but they gave up because the process was too complicated
  • 4 decided it was a better idea to pay the fine

Connect for Health Colorado reports that nearly 280,000 state residents gained coverage during the six-month enrollment period, including 120,971 who signed up for private insurance plans as of Monday and 158,521 who enroll in the expanded Medicaid program as of April 1.”

Colorado is one of the few 16 states that set up their own exchange program under the Affordable Care Act, and it’s found a good amount of success. A survey found that Coloradans, both insured and uninsured, “have learned more about the law during the past six months…”

Now, the law has been in effect for awhile now, and six months later, some of the skeptics are changing their tune.

“Bergschneider expressed skepticisms that the law could work, saying she’d rather pay more taxes than deal with a complicated new system. Now she calls it ‘a great start’ and expresses delight that, with health care coverage, she has been able to get an insulin pump to help control her diabetes.”

Campbell, who was concerned she couldn’t afford insurance now “has signed up for medical and dental coverage through her employer at about $40 a week.”

Langlois was asked to describe the law in one word six months ago. She said, “Expense.”

Today? She says, “Relief.”

You can read more about these subjects and the law’s influence on Colorado here.

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