‘Get insurance or face fine' threat still not motivating the uninsured

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The clock is ticking as the deadline to sign up for health insurance on Monday, March 31 fast approaches.

The number of people who've signed up is still not what the government or insurance companies had wanted. Even with the threat of fines, many are still not motivated to get covered.

For nearly every individual who has gone uninsured, whether it's young people who think they're invincible or people who've gone their whole life without insurance because it's too expensive, the government is requiring they sign up by Monday or pay a fine.
     
The fine is $95 or one percent of their annual income.

The push to get people enrolled has ramped up in the last several weeks. Even churches are getting involved and helping members navigate through the government's online Affordable Care Act system.
        
When individuals sign up, there's the promise to get access to more affordable, comprehensive coverage than has ever been offered before.
        
Some will pay less than they have in the past but others will pay more.

However, Blue Cross Blue Shield said of the 1.1 million uninsured individuals in Kansas and Missouri, only a fraction (about 108,000) have signed up.

The health insurance company said many people just aren't engaged and others still do not know the ACA is yet a law.

"But we're not deterred because we know the benefits that people will get as a result of the law changing is (sic) going to be significant. But they'll need to get engaged over time," BCBS Vice President Wayne Powell said.

It took hair stylist Dawn Colbert 14 hours to sign up on the government's troubled ACA website. After more than a couple of years without insurance, Colbert said the price the government now requires her to pay is priceless. She's saving $200 a month on her insurance premiums.

She said she was so relieved to be covered she said it was well worth the wait.

"It was so worth it. I've been on hold for two and a half years so what's a few hours going through a maybe even clunky system? The bottom line is probably the best several hold hours you'll ever spend in your life," Colbert said with a smile.

Both the Health and Human Services Department and insurance companies suggest getting help before logging onto https://www.healthcare.gov/.

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