Some Mississippians opt out of health insurance, citing cost

Some Mississippians have opted out of health insurance and will risk a federal penalty because they say it’s too costly to buy private insurance or insurance through the Affordable Care Act federal health exchange in Mississippi.

The Affordable Care Act mandates the fee for not having minimum health insurance in 2014 at $95 per adult.

“It is way cheaper for us to pay the fine,” said Angela Dawn Smith of Brandon.

Smith and husband Nicholas have three children. Smith said insurance through her husband’s work is $350 monthly for family insurance. The cheapest plan under Obamacare was $405 monthly and only covered the couple, not their children.

“Either way, we can’t afford the insurance,” Smith said, “so we will be paying the fine. We are a young, healthy couple who does not smoke. I don’t understand why it’s so expensive. If one of us had to have a surgery it would be cheaper to file bankruptcy or even make low payments to the hospital for the rest of our lives than to pay the insurance.”

When Smith’s family needs medical attention, they go to a Brandon clinic where they pay $20 per visit . If they have to get medicine, they buy whatever prescriptions they can afford depending on the need.

Another Brandon resident, 30-year-old Matthew Renfroe, said at the end of the year it’s cheaper to pay the fine than it is to pay for insurance.

Hattiesburg American
4/25/14