LAS VEGAS - Twenty million people have tried to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act since enrollment began October 1. Some, however, are upset about the cost.
UNLV School of Community Health Sciences Chair of Health Care Administration and Policy Dr. Chris Cochran says many Nevadans are frustrated with the prices of insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.
"Some people are getting hit with sticker shock," he said. "They're saying it's not affordable. For example, they may be saying the health insurance isn't affordable, but part of that may be, and I'm not saying that it is, but part of that may be due to they haven't had to pay for it before. Either they hadn't had to pay for it, because they couldn't afford it and they just ignored it, or they had it through their employer."
For those low-income people concerned about the cost, the government provides subsidies to help pay for insurance.
Cochran says as more people sign up, many of them who are younger and healthier, insurance prices should drop.
While Cochran says he expects many people to participate in the Affordable Care Act, others will choose not to participate in the first year of the program. That is because the penalty for not participating in 2014 ranges from $95 to $285 per person. That penalty triples in 2015 and increases again in 2016.
"One of the things that… the ACA is not going to really address as well is going to be those people who are just not going to purchase insurance, because either they don't know about it, or they don't care about it," he said. "You get people who are going to abuse the system, so there's still going to be people who will go to stay at the emergency rooms, places like UMC or Sunrise Hospital, who aren't going to have insurance."
Cochran says health administrators often refer to younger, healthier people as "invincibles", because they feel their good health means they don't need health insurance.
The Obama Administration, meanwhile, is extending the deadline to enroll in insurance or face a penalty until March 31, 2014.