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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 30, 2014

10/8/2013 6:00:00 AM
Locals split on choosing to sign up for Obamacare
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

An undetermined number of uninsured residents of the quad-city area are applying for coverage since the federal healthcare exchanges went into effect this past Tuesday.

However, at least one uninsured family will not apply - and risk fines - while two single moms said they are thinking about signing up for the exchanges through HealthCare.gov.

"For many reasons, we will not comply," said Marie Cundiff, a mother of three who owns a small business in Prescott Valley with her husband, Jonathan. "We are totally against Obamacare."

Cundiff used the widely accepted term for the Affordable Care Act, which mandates health-insurance coverage while offering subsidies for people with modest incomes. It exempts businesses that have fewer than 50 full-time employees from providing coverage to their workers, as well as for individuals on religious or other grounds.

"They are forcing us to do something that we don't want to do," Cundiff said. "We do holistic healing, and we are very healthy."

She said cost is "a huge factor" why her family lacks insurance, adding, "We pay out of pocket or we don't go (to a doctor)."

While Kristi Lowe is into holistic healing, like the Cundiffs, she said she thinks she will enroll in an exchange because she does not want to face a fine.

"My perspective is more of a preventive movement, but I do have kids," said Lowe, a dog groomer who lives in Prescott Valley. "There is no way around the kids not going to the doctor."

Lowe said she could not afford $200 for a sports physical for her 10-year-old son to attend summer camp.

"I am frustrated with the entire (healthcare) system," she said.

Lowe said she is interested in trying out the exchange.

"We are pretty healthy, and we don't need a lot of healthcare. But kids have accidents and strep throat," she said.

Another single mom who lives in Prescott Valley, Jennifer Warren, said she was considering signing up for insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover herself and her 7-year-old daughter. Self-employed, she said she could afford to pay a premium of as much as $300 per month.

However, she indicated she was unaware of HealthCare.gov, and said, "I'll definitely look that up."

It is hard to determine just how many resident of the quad-city area and Yavapai County as a whole are uninsured. Greg Vigdor, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association in Phoenix, estimated the statewide total exceeds 1 million people.

One indication is that Yavapai Regional Medical Center hospitals in Prescott and Prescott Valley treated at least 6,000 uninsured people this year as of Sept. 18, YRMC spokeswomen Robbie Nicol said. Yavapai County Community Health Services sees about 12,000 patients a year at its health centers in Prescott, Prescott Valley and the Verde Valley, according to David McAtee, community relations/public information officer. He estimated 50 to 60 percent of them lack health insurance, adding they pay for primary medical and dental care on a sliding scale based on income.

Community Health Services is trying to get the word out about the exchanges, and met with about 30 people Sept. 17 at the Chino Valley Senior Center, McAtee said. Community Health Services also scheduled meetings with its clients at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 in the Prescott Gateway Mall.

However, he said his employer has postponed appointments with individuals "because the system is overwhelmed. It is taking too long. We are just waiting a few days."

McAtee said clients of Community Health Services will gain coverage either through the expansion of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (Medicaid), "or they will have insurance through the market."

Community Health Services already is the primary healthcare provider for AHCCCS recipients in the area, McAtee said.

Vigdor of the hospital association said he wants to be optimistic about the Affordable Care Act.

"It is really hard to anticipate how they are going to come through it until they live through it," he said.

For more information, go to HealthCare.gov.

Follow reporter Ken Hedler on Twitter @KenHedlines

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ hooty hoo

Why don't you go ahead and sign up and let us all know about your glorious new health insurance. I would bet money that you would try to sign up and lie about it to everyone. Just like a typical demrat.

Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Article comment by: @@@ wake up

http://www.ehealthinsurance.com/ I appreciate the back and forth. One thing is certain, we could not have had this kind of research and discussion before the marketplace began putting it out for ease of comparison.

Probably my existing numbers are higher than yours because those are group plan numbers offering my employees a group plan was always more than individual policies. I'm guessing because groups didn't have pre-existing condition exclusions. I presume your exiting numbers are total individual premiums with no company/employer contributions? I think you'll find a plan with much lower numbers than your quoted Obamacare numbers.

Seems to me that Obamacare costs are going to be lower for me (personally) and for my ability to offer coverage to employees (and not to be so afraid to offer full-time employment because company is paying $7792 of the yearly family premium on existing plan and projects to pay only $6600 of the yearly premium of the platinum plan discussed below). Perhaps a savings of $1100 per year per family plan does not seem like a lot, but it adds up, especially when the employee gets better insurance at lower premium and out of pocket.

I'm not a partisan, by the way, just trying to find a way to keep people employed full-time and insured. Obamacare looks like it will help me do that instead of the other way around. Oh, just so that it's out there for discussion, there are about 20 full-time (more than 35 hours) in the company eligible for health insurance.

Hope others contribute to this thread so we get a better sense of who is getting hurt and where adjustments might be made. Keeping my fingers crossed for everyone.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: @Bane Capital

I guess the difference between us Conservatives and you is we actually want to protect the people who actually work from becoming the people who need to live off the teet. Dems complain all day long about the rich and pass policies in the name of so called "sanctimonious" causes, but at the end of the day the people who actually work and pay taxes are the ones who pay and are crushed. Yes, you had better watch out, there is a new breed of middle aged conservatives, and moderates who are sick of the policies of the past 40 years and don't want to keep bailing out the lazy or the boomers. Just to be clear, there is a need for some safety nets, but that amount of people who actually need them are far less than the amount of people on them.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: Bane Capitol

Geez 50 Shades of Gray, MORE Spooky stories again? You whining hard righties DO realize the Government examples of failure YOU keep reciting is YOUR Republican Controlled Congress. Lie all you want about Obama, but Your precious Constitution gives Sole Control of the Purse strings to CONGRESS, and Congress only. YES the same one that TODAY earned a 5% Approval rating, That OWNS, Sole responsibility for Shutting Down the Government. That shut down funding for Veterans, the Elderly, starving Children and the poor.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: Jane Gray

It's the seldom talked about things in Obamacare that worry me. Like all patient files and information being stored at one central "hub" in the care of the IRS. Like the information Doctors are required to gather for patient files relating to personal habits, such as do you own a gun, or have a smoke alarm. Will my degree of patient care revolve around these issues? I don't like the provision that allows for warrantless "home inspections" that ignores our protections under the 4th amendment. If the promises Obamacare form the juicy appearing apple dangling before our eyes, we have yet to take that first bite to find what lurks beneath the rosy skin.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Obamacare is only needed in the US, not in places like Mexico or Spain. Why? Because you can have a stent put in in Costa Rica for $2500 (my friend did). You can have a bypass in India for $10,000 including airfare for you and your wife (a friend did, the surgeon was US trained at UNC). Another pal buys health insurance for he and his wife in Mexico for $150/month. Obamacare does nothing to the outrageous made up "chargemaster" prices charged by US hospitals. Obama is a pimp for the healthcare industry disguised as the people's champion.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: @ @ Wake Up

Please share the company you provided the quotes from? At Blue Cross Blue Shield's ACA online quote system (http://indtuo.secure.azblue.com/IndTuo_Portal/Quoting/Individual/EnterQuoteCriteria.aspx ) the least expensive Bronze plat is $11,412 in premiums and a $11,000 family deductible - so $22,412 before insurance can kick in to the best platinum plan which $17,118 in premiums and a $2,000 family deductible (with $9000 out of pocket maximum) could cost a family from $19,118 to $26,112 a year! How is any of this affordable? Currently my family of 4 (parents in early 40's) pays $751 a month with a $3000 deductible - $12,012 a year for premiums and deductible...ACA..aka..Obamacare is a 100% increase on the backs of the middle class!

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: xj LP

Did you all know that obamacare has no spending cap.
Basically, the premiums go up each consecutive year.
What you pay one year will be higher each year thereafter.
I can tell from reading comments that a lot of the "in favor of" obamacare people are nave of the program they are representing.
Education is your power tool, use it now before they suck you in!
The government is betting most people will sign up in fear, or ignorance of the program.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: RJ Chino Valley

checked on a silver and bronze plan, they pay 70% and 60 %. the silver plan was 14,889 per year premium and 12,700 out of pocket. bronze was 12,340 premium and I stopped right there, no way is this affordable for me. what we, 2 people as before, have now is 5,000 a year premium, $8 scripts, $10 to see a doc. last year the wife had a minor surgery and the bill was over 27,000 and we paid less than a thousand. havent heard yet if we get to keep this plan

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: @ wake up

I checked the plans offered in AZ (don't believe the news that you have to go to healthcare.gov to do so there are online insurance sites that can give you the plans and calculate any subsidies). I just ran numbers for a family of 4 (parents both 50, a 13 year old and a 10 year old). You can get a Platinum Plan with deductible of $750.00/person $1,500/family with out of pocket maximums of $1250/$2500 (out of network $2500/$5000) for $1,142/mo premium. So even with a top tier plan out of network you would not be paying $24,000. If you have insurance now, can you let us know how your max out of pocket and premiums compare to that? My current, non-Obamacare insurance for myself and teenager has $20,200 premiums/out of pocket ($30,200 if out of network). I can do a plan one Exchange for deductible/out of pocket for $10,600 ($13,100 out of network)--no subsidies. Obamacare is much less expensive (both in lower deductible and in the case of catastrophic medical expenses) for me. Of course, if you aren't paying for your own insurance now, Obamacare is more expensive. Probably some people who don't travel who don't see why they should pay for airport runways and air traffic control others who don't like use fees like the parking fees in the national forest. I'm not yet convinced that those taxes for things we don't personally use are an assault on freedom.

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Article comment by: The blind leading the blind

You are relying on a government run program developed by the same government that is currently unable to stay in operation?
The democratic party has ruined this country!
Neither party is great, but the democratic party is far inferior to the Republican party!

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: The news is everywhere

I work overseas for my job, about 3 months a year.
I recently went to Europe, and many people whom are inter corporation workers have asked me "what has happened to your America", your government is shut down and your president can't seem to lead your country.
I replied, I could not have said that any better.
You are a lot smarter than most Americans, many of them are in denial of our presidents performance.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: When Gingrich Put This Forward

@ Vicki Anderson Wroate

I couldn't agree more. If it was Bushcare they'd love it.

Gingrich floated this in the 90's. It did not fly then with Republicans, and it is is not flying now.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: WAKE UP

For those of you who support the Affordable Care Act and keep spouting that it's the "law of the land" or that we should just accept it because someday we might need it....well, you try paying the $24,000 out of pocket expense annually for the premium and deductible for a family of 4 - before it pays any major medical benefits. Democrats always want these types of programs as long as it doesn't effect them. Guess what, money talks and bs walks. Wait until next year when people have to start paying for this - regardless of political persuasion. It is all a tax, the premiums, the deductibles, and the penalty. People of all stripes never respond well when it comes down to their own pocketbook. Hey Dems..can't wait to hear about your buyers remorse on this one.. at least those of you who actually work and have to go on the exchange.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ Vicki Anderson

I couldn't agree more. If it was Bushcare they'd love it.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Clement R.

Many years ago one of the major insurance companies ran an ad that told of a man who said he didn't need insurance, he took good care of himself, made sure his home had fire extinguishers, etc. He believed in preventing bad things from happening. That worked until he tried to prevent a tornado.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

The gubment will pay a lot of the premium and a lot of the decuctable and copay (but you HAVE to pick a silver plan) if you don't make a lot of money. The max out of pocket is $6k for individual and 12 grand family. That's not bad at all. So if you groom dogs and make 50 grand and have a few little nippers Uncle Sam will pay half your health care bills if you get any. you can't pass that up. You could rack up 12 grand in sticker price bills with a broken leg and an ambulance ride.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Windows Works

Guess my first question has got to be, what heath care plan does Ms. Cundiff and her husband offer to their employees?
Can you imagine after paying for an education, putting in a few years to gain experience, actually being in a position to contribute to someone else's bottom-line, and they offer you a benefit package that relies on holistic medicine ?
Apparently only extremists are being allowed to be heard on this issue.
30 dollars. That's what a flu shot cost.
Come springtime next year, I guess I'll find out if it was worth it.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: The Issue With Obamacare

The federal government is the administrator. The same outfit bringing you the current clown show, will tell insurance providers, who they will insurer and what type of insurance you HAVE to buy.

The outcome is chaos and more chaos with cronies and corporations securing exemptions, while the rest of are fined.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Jason M

Ask Steve Jobs about how holistic medicine cured him of treatable cancer. Mandatory healthcare coverage is essential to the future of this country.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ Vicky Anderson

If your granddaughter had insurance under the ACA in most cases the deductible would be over $6000 so she would have had to borrow the $6000 anyway. Maybe even more.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen


"For many reasons, we will defy the law and cut off our noses to spite our faces," said Marie Cundiff, a mother of three who owns a small business in Prescott Valley with her husband, Jonathan. "We are totally against a common-sense program that will provide adequate health-care coverage for our family in favor of sticking you taxpayers with the bill if and when one of us requires an emergency procedure or hospitalization.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned but need it

I am all for the Afordable Care Act. My wife couldn't get insurance because of a pre-existing condition, and the out of pocket medical bills over the years have been a huge burden. However, I am not sure we are going to be any better off financially with the ACA - the cheapest plan available to us was $682/mo to cover just the two of us. And that covereage wasn't very great. A plan with decent coverage start at nearly $900/mo. Not sure where the affordable part fits in.

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Eric Arizoa

When you have to pay hundred of dollars each month for insurance that has a 5000 to 10000 dollar deductible, well thats NOT insurance. It's a scam. Better off self insuring for that price and telling Obama and his henchmen (IRS) to take a hike!

Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Article comment by: Really ?

At shouldn't we be grateful--and what if it doesn't? I, myself, is against it because we're being TOLD to have insurance and we don't have insurance, we'd be fined. Where's the freedom in that? And if it does work out, then I'll take the gomer award, but if it doesn't, I and the other people in this world, who is against can gloat at people like you. This so called Obamacare is more like one step closer to making America become a communist country!!!!

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