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By Amir Salehzadeh
October 31, 2013
Credit : AP/Charles Dharapak.

Daniel McNaughton, 22, a college student in Orlando, FL, has health insurance. He successfully enrolled in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Gold plan—and it’s only costing him $70 a month.

Thanks to the ACA and beginning January 1, 2014, when the plan goes into effect, his first three doctor visits are free and generic prescriptions are $4 for a month’s supply. Those prices fit nicely with this college student’s budget.


Daniel McNaughton

CREDIT: Daniel McNaughtonVucci

Previously, McNaughton purchased his own independent catastrophic health insurance plan starting when he was 19 years old; however, that plan came with a hefty price tag and limited coverage.

“The plan I have right now only allows me three doctor visits a year,” McNaughton said. “I have a $5000 deductible for medical, $1000 for prescriptions, and an additional $5,000 co-insurance after the deductible with an out of pocket maximum of $11,000.”

So, when the ACA officially opened its marketplaces for enrollment on October 1, McNaughton decided to enroll.

“I do not have insurance through parents because they are on Medicare, and so I’ve had an individual plan since 19,” McNaughton said. “It seemed logical to enroll in an insurance plan on the exchange. The prices are a lot better.”

A recent poll shows that Millennials support the ACA, with 51 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds approving of the ACA. McNaughton falls into this demographic, and he is one of millions that will benefit from the law.

On the topic of the website, McNaughton says that “the issues that the website is having is significant and needs to get fixed. But Republicans are using this as their centerpiece for repeal.”

He notes that similar large-scale programs have had bumps in the road during their rollouts, too.

“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare Part D all had a lot of issues getting started,”McNaughton said. “You’re going to have these issues when you have something so large that involves so many people.”

With a sizable federal subsidy through the ACA law, McNaughton expects to pay only $70 a month for a health insurance plan that is not catastrophic and includes many more benefits and safeguards than his current plan.

Even though the website still has many quirks that need to be figured out, he says the marketplace makes shopping for health insurance very simple and clear.

“It is extremely clear what the policies consisted of and the way they compared plans made it very easy to understand,” McNaughton said. “They put the policies side by side.”

McNaughton wants to share his advice for frustrated consumers trying to use the website and enroll in its health insurance plans.

“Keep trying, obviously they will get the issues worked out. You will be surprised at the benefits.”

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