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What...Me Worry About Health Insurance?

PHOTO: Coloradans are urged to get health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act before the open-enrollment deadline on Monday. Photo courtesy FDA.
PHOTO: Coloradans are urged to get health insurance available through the Affordable Care Act before the open-enrollment deadline on Monday. Photo courtesy FDA.
March 26, 2014

DENVER - It could be financial stress, uncertainty or plain lack of desire that keeps some people who need health insurance from enrolling by next Monday's Affordable Care Act deadline.

Procrastination may be one piece of the puzzle, said Dr. Stephanie Smith, public education coordinator for the Colorado Psychological Association. People tend to procrastinate unless there's a major penalty for not completing a major task, she said, adding that even when there is, human behavior often comes down to "pros and cons" in the moment.

"We often do this weighing of options, whenever we're choosing behavior - even if we're not necessarily aware of it," she said. "Unfortunately, those kinds of things that we don't want to do get the 'short end of the stick' until the very last second."

Comparing the coming deadline with filing taxes, Smith said people don't have to do it alone. If signing up for the ACA seems overwhelming, asking for assistance can help reduce the stress factor. Just like taxes, some extensions may be allowed for those waiting on specific financial assistance or who had technical problems during registration. If you want coverage, she said, the key is to get online or on the phone, and get some help as soon as possible.

On the flip side, some Coloradans who had little or no health insurance are breathing a sigh of relief. Lorenzo Ramirez of Denver said his pre-existing condition prevented him from getting health coverage and care.

"But now I have full coverage, so whatever health issues may arise, I'm covered, which is wonderful," he said. "Talk about peace of mind."

Elena Miller-ter Kuile, who farms in the San Luis Valley, is another who said she's sleeping better at night - literally. Her pre-existing condition is a sleep disorder.

"Now I have that really good plan," she said. "Low deductible, get all the specialty care, covers my pre-existing condition and I'm only paying $143 a month, which to me is reasonable for my income."

More information is available in both English and Spanish at ConnectForHealthCO.com or by calling 855-PLANS-4-YOU (855-752-6749).

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - CO