The ACA Deadline Is Coming

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The deadline to start signing up for health insurance if you aren't covered is March 31st (Monday), and the White House has just announced some more important dates. Susan Dentzer, Senior Policy Adviser to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, health policy analyst for PBS NewsHour and former editor-in-chief of the journal Health Affairs, explains what happens if you don't sign up, your options, and the state of the policy.


Susan Dentzer

Comments [53]

I was not aware that we were offered prices of premiums according to age until I listened to your podcast yesterday. That was somewhat shocking. I did find a plan in November that would have cost me $475/mo., but I was doing temp work and my hours were often cut,s o I could not afford it. I am 62. I have since found a permanent job with benefits. I am so grateful for this and consider myself very lucky not to be put into the position of paying a penalty for remaining uninsured, or paying more than I could afford as a temp.

Apr. 01 2014 11:08 PM

@NSNY from Brooklyn:

Name calling is an art, as well as a science - good grammar is helpful.
I can assure you that both of your friends have assured me that I appear to be a comfortably cuddly crag of colorful coral, and not the unhappy, grumpy person you imagine. Let me further assure you that there seems to a lot of owning up to unstated facts in the comments on this thread (see e.g. The Truth From Becky 4 or 5 comments below this)
Perhaps you, and Becky, find attempts at accuracy to be less supportive of the histrionic narratives you're trying to spin?
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."
Friedrich August von Hayek


Finally, "Fredo", let me assure you further that I did not intend to be "poor mannered" or "out of Line" and I do believe you are "smart".

Mar. 27 2014 02:15 AM

@jf from hell

"Thaks for the star. I'm sure you all have perfectly reasonable explanations for why a $1.50 bag of saline solution costs $800 in our perfectly civilized "healthcare" system."
Mar. 26 2014 12:02 PM

Frankly, I'd be asking for a bit more documentation to believe your claim about being charged $800.00 for a $1.50 bag of saline solution ( at least basic basic "who", "what", "where", "when" types of stuff )
[Frankly, I heard it was going for over $1500.00 dollars.]

I'd hazard a guess that, besides the motive of greed, one might find a more pernicious cause to be attempts to surreptitiously cost-shift for all the "free" services manic governments mandate must be provided without reimbursement; but without knowing the particular case such guesses would be unproductive emotional responses.

Keep in mind: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."
Friedrich August von Hayek


Mar. 27 2014 01:21 AM

Truth, if you know these things to be true, why say them? Your comments bring the obvious out of me. I only respond to your simplistic statements. And we're on the same side. Martin wouldn't be so kind.

Mar. 26 2014 12:13 PM
jf from hell

Thaks for the star. I'm sure you all have perfectly reasonable explanations for why a $1.50 bag of saline solution costs $800 in our perfectly civilized "healthcare" system.

Mar. 26 2014 12:02 PM
The Truth from Becky

DEAR SETH: I do not intent to into a long diatribe with you who seem to be so obsessed with responding to my every comment. But rest assures "oh snarky one" I know damned well if you show up at an emergency room you will be treated at no cost or put on a pay plan...I am versed on how the US Healthcare system works. Stop engaging as if you are telling me something I don't already know Captain Obvious!

Mar. 26 2014 12:02 PM

"No one should be denied access to healthcare"

No one is! Show up in any emergency room and you will be treated. We do not let people die in our streets. That's why capitalism will never work in this system. But.... other people with money are tired of paying for folks who don't. And this system is our national compromise... at least for the next decade.

Mar. 26 2014 11:53 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Re: Ibrahim and independent contractor question. I am one and my experience with the state Web site was grotesque. The primary initial question is not gross vs. adjusted gross income. We have to fill out an extensive explicit income and expense section, comparable to what is already requested on an annual tax filing, but--believe it or not--not as straightforward as the tax forms. The Web site setup is tortuous--the form is not explained, the line items are not explicit--it is confusing when it comes to the specialized accounting that independent contractors must do for our subsidy-determining incomes to be determined. The staff on the help line at NYS of Health try to be helpful but are not trained in the intricacies of sole provider income/expense accounting. I have been dealing with sole-provider insurance for 35 years and have not had as difficult a time previously. The first time I went through the process I was told to apply for Medicaid, as my income was determined to be too low to qualify me for a subsidy. I am not wealthy, but I know my income is not that low. Having gone through it once, I came to understand what I needed to do, and canceled the first application. When I went through it a 2nd tortuous time, the results were accurate. And this was just the subsidy-eligibility determination process. Then there was determining which plan to apply for, and that was similarly tortuous, as the Web site for determining provider participation is similarly badly done.

Mar. 26 2014 11:40 AM
John A from the bus outta town...

Gold star for the nuttiest comment board in WNYC history.

Mar. 26 2014 11:37 AM from Idiots who know how to sound smart like everyone else land

Everything is naturally free. origionally. Only the prison I was born into charges us rent to be alive.

Mar. 26 2014 11:36 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I know someone on Medicare for disability. Because they have Medicare, they aren't eligible for O-care, and Medicare pays for medicine but doesn't cover their doctors, etc. Not good.

Mar. 26 2014 11:34 AM
The Truth from Becky

Single payer, Free, Universal = whatever you want to call it in your head to make sense. No one should be denied access to healthcare, it's ridiculous!


Mar. 26 2014 11:32 AM
NSNY from Brooklyn

@geTaylor, there's really no reason for me to respond to your poor mannered comment but you're out of line. If you are as intelligent as you like to try to convey yourself to be, then you understand full well that I understand how deductibles work, and that my point is that I would have to pay $8,200 out of pocket before my insurance will cover anything that is not preventative care. I shared my experience in the hope of helping others because it took me several hours to research and find the best option possible under the current circumstances. I only hope that this information can help others as it was a frustrating and scary process to know that with all of this money paid those of us in this situation are without a net. My friends and I have been comparing notes and I know that's been helpful among us.

You sound like an unhappy, grumpy person, find another outlet rather than insulting people on message boards.

Mar. 26 2014 11:32 AM
jf from land of suicidal sheep lemmings

believing everything your taught against your own best interest and the best interest of all life on earth is simplistic.

Mar. 26 2014 11:32 AM
anonymous from NJ

Who in the audience thinks it wise to require an administrator or Judge to decide whether some or all of corporate owners have sincerely held religious beliefs which are central tenets requiring a free exercise clause exemption to generally applicable regulations broadly applied to any entity which has an effect on interstate commerce? any takers?

Mar. 26 2014 11:30 AM

The billions that the federal reserve let the top banks counterfeit into existence is free. Money is nothing but numbers in computers. They could pay for everything. they can make inflation illegal.

Mar. 26 2014 11:28 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

@ jf from CORPORATE DYSTOPIA: "Every civilized country has single payer! That means free! don't you want free health care? un corrupted by the profit streams of preditory corporations drunk on their billions and power?"

It ain't free! Swedes pay a flat 50% income tax and a flat 14% sales tax. They're covered for everything, including higher education, but they pay for it through their taxes.

Every other government that provides health care does it with higher taxes, including VAT on everything they buy and import, BUT they are covered.

Mar. 26 2014 11:27 AM

"single payer! That means free!"

Such simplistic thinking. Single payer means a lot of good things, but Free is NOT one of them. It just means that you're paying for it in other ways. Nothing is Free.

Mar. 26 2014 11:26 AM

This is not a free market. things you need need to be free. we don't choose to be born in this hell. your hell corporatist. Your religion that is destroying the earth, the founding fathers would not be for forcing everyone to pay expensive "insurance" for upsurd price demands, or any of this hell.

Mar. 26 2014 11:25 AM
Ed from Larchmont

"I'll call it The Affordable Care Act when the president changes his name to Barack Affordable." Dennis Miller

Mar. 26 2014 11:24 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Disaster all around. And in addition it promotes abortion.

Mar. 26 2014 11:22 AM

Where does it say that "Healthcare is a Right". I mean, I wish it were, but it's not. Saying so will not make it a reality. Too many other people don't want it to be. I hate such liberal tripe. It only hurts those of us who are trying to make a messy thing better for everyone. It's just not a Right.

Mar. 26 2014 11:21 AM

Every civilized country has single payer! That means free! don't you want free health care? un corrupted by the profit streams of preditory corporations drunk on their billions and power?

Mar. 26 2014 11:20 AM

"it should be free/universal anyways."
sounds great and I wish it were true, but you'd have to live in a communist country for that. Here our fore fathers agreed to a capitalist system, and that's not going to change. So, either find a way to make it better (Medicare for All) or move to Russia.

Mar. 26 2014 11:18 AM
JL from NYC

Question: My partner is Japanese and has what is essentially traveler's insurance through the Japanese govt that he renews every year. Does he need to sign up for the ACA and if not, how does he prove he has insurance?

Mar. 26 2014 11:15 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Cecillia call Metro Plus or Affinity ( google them) all you need is a statement from your self or any one helping you with your rent. YOu are eligible for Medicaid . I am in a similar situation and I have it. NO excuses

Mar. 26 2014 11:14 AM

@NSNY from Brooklyn:

As most "think-they-know"s who inhabit this thread - you don't.
"Deductibles" are paid, or not, usually after you get, or contract for, a covered medical service and before the insurance payments kicks in; it is not a part of the policy's purchase price.

Mar. 26 2014 11:14 AM

Your guests doesn't understand the tax laws. A cab driver who files a Schedule C won't be assessed on his gross income before deductions, because Schedule C income, as reported, reflects those deductions.

Mar. 26 2014 11:14 AM
The Truth from Becky

This is asinine, have and have nots in insurance coverage. Everyone needs health coverage, it should be free/universal anyways.

Mar. 26 2014 11:12 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

I just want to add that my husband and I recently signed up for health insurance on the NYStateofHealth website. There were a few glitches, but I was able to call them and get everything worked out. We got our first premium bill and I just mailed our check this morning.

The coverage we got seems to be excellent, and we got a significant subsidy due to the fact that my husband's work is seasonal. The coverage is quite comprehensive and we qualify for additional assistance in paying for co-pays and deductibles. We even have dental and vision coverage.

This is VERY affordable. Two of us are covered for less than I used to pay for myself alone (before I was married).

The more people who sign up, the better this will work, so I recommend that everyone who needs insurance get it now.:-)

Mar. 26 2014 11:12 AM
JF from pure insurance medical extortion dystopia

My religion is Utopianism, I believe in science and common sense, not corporate organized crime accepted as valid. Can I use my religious exemption? I believe in an athiest religion with every fiber of my being. Do I have to believe in "a god" to get an exemption?!

Mar. 26 2014 11:12 AM
John C from Manhattan

Let's set the record straight Joy was babbling. Never answered Brian's questions. I am an insurance broker. Write ( or assist ) an ACA policy and we get a commission on the full value of the policy, not the subsidy. Obviously Joy in not coherent and lacks an understanding of "her business" I did 100 ACA policies. 100% of my clients are very very happy and paying less

Mar. 26 2014 11:10 AM
The Truth from Becky

Caller Susan your point is lost, because when you speak in the high notes in your voice nobody listens.

Mar. 26 2014 11:10 AM
NSNY from Brooklyn

Also, I ended-up buying a policy outside of the exchange because none of my doctors accept those on the exchange with the exception of Empire Blue. And I found a cheaper plan with a lower deductible with Empire Blue outside of the exchange. The whole thing is a confusing mess. Perhaps it's easier if you're covered by an employer - but if you're on your own it's worse than it was before - sadly.

Mar. 26 2014 11:10 AM
Cecilia from NYC


I lost my job five months ago. I was denied UI benefits, so I have no income. Having worked through savings, I am now borrowing money from my family to survive.

I canceled my Freelancers Union health insurance, which I loved (ca. $350/month).

I tried to apply to Medicaid. I am separated from my husband. Not allowed to claim this if I file jointly with my husband. So I said this year I would file separately. The fact that I have no income still did not qualify me for Medicaid. They keep asking for information or proof of income that I simply do not have.

Since I am fighting the DOL on a fraud claim and now prospective employers ask if I am engaged in a hearing re: DOL fraud or Medicaid fraud, I have decided it isn't worth it to pursue Medicaid. I am worried that if somehow I qualify, I will eventually be accused of fraud or theft and will then as a result be unable to find a job.

It's safer to to be uninsured and to reject DOL assistance in my experience. The government is rigged to punish those that need its assistance. It's just not worth it.

Mar. 26 2014 11:08 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Freelancers w/variable incomes may not know what 8% of their income will be. What income figure should we base this calculation on?

Mar. 26 2014 11:07 AM
Frances from NYC

I have a young adult who is turning 26 in May and is covered under my policy till June 1st. Will there be an avenue through which to sign up for insurance through the ACA after March 31st?

Mar. 26 2014 11:07 AM


Mar. 26 2014 11:06 AM
Jose from Brooklyn

"go through the process and see..." Great suggestion by the esteemed guest. That's like we need to pass the bill before we find out what's in it. This program is a complete disaster, I would like numbers on how many people signing up are getting subsidies (probably most, money doesn't not fall from the sky) and how many signed up because they lost their coverage due to this same bill.

Mar. 26 2014 11:06 AM


Mar. 26 2014 11:05 AM
NSNY from Brooklyn

$45k annual income after deductions is the ceiling for any subsidies. I supported this bill and feel had. I'm self-employed and used to be able to have real, legitimate health insurance through Freelancer's Union. Now that the ACA has taken affect I essentially get catastrophic insurance at a higher cost than I used to pay for a normal policy. I used to simply have a co-pay to go to my doctor if I was sick and I could see specialists. Now I have a $3,500 deductible before my insurance will cover anything other than an annual physical. My premium is $370/month. I essentially have to pay $8,200 before I can see a doctor and have coverage something as simple as the flu. This is catastrophic insurance, and it's ridiculous.

Mar. 26 2014 11:02 AM
jf from HELL


Mar. 26 2014 11:02 AM
lt from nyc

As a Canadian currently living and working in NY, it's unclear whether I'm supposed to get health insurance here even though I have health care from Canada. Does anyone know where and how I find out?
Thanks, lt

Mar. 26 2014 11:02 AM

Is colonoscopy covered or is it under preventive care? My insurance gives me mixed messages. Sometimes they say it's under preventive care and sometimes not if it's diagonostic. Even the New York health exchange does not have a clear cut answer as they say it depends on the insurance company. If not mistaken I heard Obama saying that Colonoscopy is under preventive care. What is wellness care, screening procedure and so on. Are they different names for preventive care? I just had my colonoscopy screening and I hope it's covered under preventive care and does not come out of my deductibles.

Mar. 26 2014 11:01 AM

When ACA was first presented to us, I heard that no one in America would pay more than 10% of their annual income. Is there any truth to that?

Mar. 26 2014 11:01 AM

Your guest made the same "mistake" -

"I'm surprised how often commentators and pundits refer to the "Penalty" that is to be paid by those who fail to sign-up for this charade. It is a "Tax", not a "Penalty" - or at least that was the legal justification used by the majority decision of the Supreme Court that found the law constitutional."
Why is that "mistake" made so often?,0,5262266.story#axzz2vgrtELyf

Mar. 26 2014 10:58 AM

"a bit "nutty" if not ideologically slutty"

Best description ever for this site's comments' board.... every day.

Thanks to Martin, jgarbuz and Ed. At least we know where the wackos are.

Mar. 26 2014 10:57 AM

Health Care and Insurance do don't respond to the laws of Supply & Demand, so Capitalism will never drive down costs. These 2 things simply must be run by the government, because no one wants to die. There is no limit to the amount a person would pay to keep a loved one alive. I love me some capitalism, but in this case it will never be financially effective, because death is permanent.

Mar. 26 2014 10:55 AM
Kate from Hamilton Heights

Don't know how to comment on the news, which is not the Brian Lehrer show:

Our president is no more "having an audience" with the Pope than the Pope is "having an audience" with our president. It is two heads of state meeting, or a president meeting with a religious leader. It is inappropriate to act as though my president is subordinate to someone else's religious leader. Please correct the copy. thanks!

Mar. 26 2014 10:51 AM
Nietzsche from Reality

It's a world of masters and slaves, always was and always will be. The faces and technology may change but humans will always be the same. The only thing to do is fulfill your dharma with detachment.

Mar. 26 2014 10:21 AM


These first two comments seem a bit "nutty" if not ideologically slutty;
glad to add some sanity to the discussion.

I'm surprised how often commentators and pundits refer to the "Penalty" that is to be paid by those who fail to sign-up for this charade. It is a "Tax", not a "Penalty" - or at least that was the legal justification used by the majority decision of the Supreme Court that found the law constitutional.
Why do they make that simple "mistake" so often?,0,5262266.story#axzz2vgrtELyf

Mar. 26 2014 10:13 AM
Jf from Nightmare reality

I didn't choose to be born in this horrifying world, Corporations own and destroy everything, extracting every bit of wealth from us, buying and owning government to force us into their conveyor belt of horrors"products"

Mar. 26 2014 07:25 AM
Jf from Reality

This is not socialized medicine. This is forced extortion. I would say that medical prices are arbitrary but, but in truth they are as high and higher than anyone could imagine, the price is whatever they decide, not related in any way to production costs. A 3000 tax for being alive. Living off the grid is illegal in Florida. Swat teams for solar panels rainwater collection and home vegetable gardens. Do a report on this. You can't Live off the land, there are still property taxes. You MUST sell something to survive. But not clean electricity. Then you get raided by SWAT teams. You are not allowed to have water that has not been prepoisoned with fluoride and chlorine.want fresh water that doesn't deplete the water table? SWAT teams. Every government agency now has SWAT teams. The department of education has a large stockpile of weapons and ammunition. You need to be a bit more explicit to the American public about what is going on.pure evil on every conceivable level. Corporate Armageddon .

Mar. 26 2014 07:16 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.