Nancy O'Connor: Unfortunately, a lot of these folks don't have health-care coverage. They can go onto the individual market and purchase a plan but many of them just cannot afford to do that.
You're still buying a product, so you have to be sure it's something you will actually be able to use. Is it helpful to remember that you're purchasing insurance that will make a difference in your life and your health?
Do you think that maybe some of sticker shock for the Marketplace plans is because we're not used to seeing how expensive insurance really is?
I think that what people don't think about is just the sheer cost if you get sick. So that premium may look like a lot of money a month, but it only takes one visit to an ER because you've broken your leg and need some kind of surgery. One hospital stay can actually bankrupt you.
Most people don't find it easy to say, "I'm going to spend $150 a month and I'm probably not going to get sick, I'm probably not going to have an accident." Are there psychological roadblocks that are hard to overcome? It's tough to convince people they should be more risk-averse.
I think that's true with a lot of insurance. For example, homeowner's insurance. You buy a house, and you don't buy the house and you have that insurance. You're not thinking that house is going to burn down but you know what? If you have a fire and your house burns down, you're mighty glad you had that insurance! So health care is the same thing, it's just we've never required people to hold health insurance policies.
And the other thing that's important to note is that you can't sign up for insurance just whenever you feel like it. There is the open enrollment period and it's coming to an end now.
Do you have a giant clock counting down?
I do, yes!
Because of online shopping, many of us have the mentality of, "You can buy anything you want at any time you want." So why does the open enrollment period exist, why does it end, and why are there these limitations?
Realize you're enrolling in a product that a company sells. So the companies who provide these products, they have to build their business around the plan that they're selling. So there has to be a set period of time where we get everybody into a plan. For the Marketplace, that period ends on March 31.
And it's not complicated insurance company speak. It's all plain language.
There are plenty of resources out there for people, it's just a matter of connecting the people and resources to each other. And I think that's always the struggle, with really any kind of resource, making sure the people who need it are the ones who are getting it.
That's right. We're trying to jump up and down and wave our hands to people and say, "Hey everybody who doesn't have health insurance, pay attention!" Especially now because the Marketplace is closing at the end of the month.