ACA is priceless to some, will come at price to others

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As the clock ticked down to the Affordable Care Act deadline, the system that started out as a disaster may end up turning out to be a success.

Monday at 11 p.m. CST was the deadline to begin to enroll in health insurance for 2014.

Millions of people signed up on the health insurance exchanges created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. So many people waited until the last minute, the ACA website even crashed a few times Monday.

The deadline and anticipation of the penalty for not getting covered drove millions of people to the exchange websites in the last few days.

The federal government said it would exceed its goal of six million enrollees. But enrollments in both Kansas and Missouri lagged behind.

No one knows how many of the enrollees were originally uninsured or who actually paid their first premium. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently found that the majority of the uninsured said they had no intention of signing up even in the face of a penalty.

For many who signed up, it will be the first time they have even had health insurance.

New enrollee Freda Marshall, she said she had to choose when her 17-year-old son was younger, whether to insure herself or her son.

“I chose my son, bottom line," she said.

Freda said she will now be able to join him in getting coverage.

"That's what mothers do - anything for your children," she said.

Marshall said health coverage means she'll no longer have to wait three to six months to see any number of random doctors.

"Sometimes you just want to see your own doctor," she said.

Health insurance is a whole new concept for many of the uninsured said Swope Health Service's Outreach Education Director Karimah Baptist.

"We have to sit down with them and break down what a deductible is or what's co-insurance or co pays," she said.

But all of this comes at a price. After the enrollment period closes, insurance companies will have to find out if there were enough people who signed up and enough of those young healthy people who enrolled to support the system. If not, insurance companies are already warning that they may have to decide if premiums will be more expensive for everyone with insurance policies.

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