ACA CONCERNS: Affordable Care Act ‘Not Affordable’

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With just two weeks before all Americans must have a form of medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act, one local pastor says it’s anything but affordable.

Pastor Tony Angran of Centerville was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in January. He had insurance, but it did not cover certain things, like chemo. Since then, he has racked up $50,000 in medical bills and emptied his savings account.

So Angran signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange. But with premiums of $850 per month, Angran says it isn’t affordable either, and he can’t get the treatment he needs until he has the right insurance. "I'm struggling here with stage three cancer and they're sending me to the financial person to find out how are you going to pay for this?" Angran says.

Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, Pastor Angran also has to wait two weeks before the coverage will kick in, so he has to put off his cancer treatments until then.


    • Scott

      Not likely Rebecca, the insurance companies have more and better lawyers. And since they’re now just following the laws of this complete joke of an “affordable care act”, Mr. Angren would have pretty much no case at all.

    • ARC

      Yeah, he can move to Canada and get his healthcare for “free” or he can pony up the $850 and pay for the insurance coverage that will pay for his cancer treatment he now has access to thanks to the ACA.

  • momofboys

    It is a sad story, and my heart goes out to the pastor and his family. But this segment is so skewed against the Affordable Care Act. Out of curiosity, what was his previous insurance premium, and why wouldn’t it cover chemo? He HAD insurance; did it drop him? Was non-coverage of cancer treatment his choice in his previous policy? His previous coverage was not through the ACA. All this story does is reinforce the fact that the health system needs overhauled. If you do a news story, do me a favor, present THE FACTS.

  • vk60402

    Wait a minute. Am I getting this right? The pastor had insurance that did not cover chemo (before getting ACA plan). Which resulted in pastor incurring high bills and emptying his savings.

    THEN the pastor signed up for Obamacare insurance plan, AFTER he was diagnosed with cancer, and by definition had a pre-existing condition? And with his pre-existing condition (i.e cancer) he ends up paying $850/mo for his new insurance plan? If so, I am not sure he got such a bad deal. After all, before the ACA it’s unlikely that ANY insurance would help him, no?.

    $850/mo is a lot of money for insurance, however, for someone with a pre-existing condition like cancer I am not sure it’s such a bad deal.

    • Brett

      OMG, this story is the exact reason that the ACA is phasing out JUNK health insurance… you know, the things everyone is up in arms about keeping their existing JUNK plan. This guy had the quintessential example of JUNK health insurance. It didn’t cover a catastrophe, such as cancer. If you want to rail against the ACA, you should be complaining that they extended the deadline for people to get rid of JUNK insurance. Had the original timeline been in place, this guy probably would have gotten REAL health insurance prior to January. Though in all honesty, he was perfectly capable of getting REAL insurance prior to January, but opted not to.

      What a shameful article, to not even point out these most basic facts about the situation.

      • Merryem Ployer

        Will Obamacare be repealed or won’t it? Will Congress fund it or won’t it? Will the web site be fixed or not? Blah, blah, blah. We the people just need to do what we need to do and Democrats be damned. Resist. Refuse. Revolt. EXEMPT OURSELVES! We did not comply with Prohibition and we simply should not comply with Obamacare. For religious reasons. For privacy reasons. For the cause of liberty and freedom and in protest of the idea that the federal government (under one party rule, no less), can force private citizens to purchase anything with our own money. Are we citizens or subjects? Mice or (wo)men? Just say NO to socialism and to the corrupt, unionized, far left IRS: the gestapo of America’s political class. Afraid of arrest? not to worry! After all, the federal government ignores millions of illegals who are breaking U.S. immigration law every day. Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All we have to do is just say no to a scheme we all know is un-American and a violation of our most basic founding fundamentals of privacy, self reliance, limited government and individual freedom.

  • Becky Whitson-Schmidt

    Before ACA if he lost his insurance after the diagnosis, he would be SOL. There is nobody who would have covered his treatment. Even with good insurance, chemo runs some people thousands of dollars per month.

    With a cancer diagnosis he may be eligible for special funds. Check the DHS website.

    It would be really nice if the news checked out all the facts before putting the story out there.

  • JF

    1) So the guy’s old insurer didn’t cover his cancer treatment. And he has nothing bad to say about that.

    2) Lacking coverage pre-ACA, he spends all the money he has on fighting the disease.

    3) Now, he has ACA coverage for $800 a month which will cover cancer treatment (the article doesn’t say otherwise).

    4) But since he spent all his personal money in #2, Obamacare is bad and mean. Still no complaints about his old insurer, though, which didn’t care what the cancer did to him.

    Teabagger city.

    Shame on the reporter for presenting this misleading BS.

  • ET

    I have my own small business, am healthy and my insurance premiums went up. I just looked into ACA and would get less coverage for more money than I currently pay per month, and with a higher deductible… what a joke.

  • Pastor Tony Angran

    This is Pastor Tony… For those who were wondering Rush Limbaugh was about 30% right.

    Asking about the old insurance… Because of a heart attack in 2005 most insurances would not even take me in 2013. We settled for an insurance that was affordable $438.00 a month and thought it would take care of us… But not.

    The hospitals and clinics we went to all had insurance information from the beginning.

    Radiation was started on a Monday and on Tuesday the following day is when they came and told me our insurance would not cover chemo, and my cancer needed both, so we are discontinuing treatment to find payment.

    You may ask where does Affordable Health Care fit in, the only explanation I may have would be it has taken the focus off of helping patients and on to how are we going to pay for this treatment.

    All I ask, above anything else is, Your Prayers.

    I have a couple of weeks yet before 1st treatment… Pray no stage 4

    Thank you so much.

    • Mina

      Pastor – we are sorry to hear of your situation, a cancer diagnosis is never an easy thing to hear or deal with. However, as a pastor, you are given an amount of respect that comes along with that title and the least I could ask is that you fully understand and educate yourself and your followers on what the ACA brought to all people of this country.
      Before ACA you would not have been touched with a 10 foot pole with your diagnosis. You could have been dropped from your current provider.
      With ACA you are covered with a pre-existing condition. With ACA you can not be dropped. With ACA you actually get true coverage such as chemo. With ACA there are no lifetime caps. With ACA, it is my understanding that there is an annual out of pocket expense to you. ALL OF THESE THINGS BENEFIT A PERSON LIKE YOU.
      For it to work everyone needs to do their part. Otherwise we keep on paying for those who show up uninsured in the ER. For it to work there has to be an understanding that things – catastrophic things – do happen even to those who are the picture of health.
      To continue the lies and the head in the sand spinning the talking points of the GOP is irresponsible.

      • Merryem Ployer

        You have the gall to talk about lies?!! “If you like your plan you can keep you plan. Period.” LIE OF THE YEAR! His premiums were supposed to be $2500 lower. Another Democrat lie. All you can do is lie…it’s the Marxist way. Now leave this poor man alone and go heckle Karl Rove or the Loch brothers.

      • JF

        His old insurance company would have let him die without any cancer treatment.

        Before Obamacare, NO other insurance company would sell him a policy, given his pre-existing conditions.

        Now he has insurance, and soon (a couple of weeks) will obtain treatments for his condition. Thanks to the ACA.

        Instead of saying “thanks to the ACA, I can get treatment for my cancer,” he says it’s heartless.

        Cancer or no cancer, dishonesty and a lack of gratitude are ugly characteristics. As is hypocrisy. If the ACA coverage is so bad, he should cancel. If he doesn’t cancel, that’s because he now has insurance, which is helping him. Thanks to the ACA.

        Too bad some people lack the grace and decency to be honest.

  • Merryem Ployer

    I’m surprised the pastor turned to a government and not a Christian health share program of which there are several: How To Opt Out Of Obamacare. Know your options and become savvy self-pay patients. Join a health care sharing ministry. These are voluntary, charitable membership organizations that agree to share medical bills among the membership. They function similar to insurance, and are probably the best alternative to conventional health insurance. There are four of them, at least that I know of. Three are open only to practicing Christians (Samaritan Ministries, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Christian Care Ministry) while a fourth, Liberty HealthShare, is open to anyone who agrees with their ethical commitment to religious liberty. They operate entirely outside of Obamacare’s regulations, and typically offer benefits for about half the cost of similar health insurance. Members are also exempt from having to pay the tax for being uninsured. From the article by Sean Parnell http://thefederalist. com/2013/12/04/opt-obamacare/

    • Mina

      I have the gall to tell it like it is — if you are really buying the line “if you like your health care you can keep it” as a like — then you need to understand what JUNK coverage is. In any other retail environment is it ever ok to pay for something and get “nothing in return???” Study up — the plans that were dropped were dropped because they did not meet the minimum coverage requirements. That’s ok — you keep on paying for crap coverage — I myself want to actually get something in return if I am paying for it.

      • Kamandak

        Your comment seems to conflict it’s self. You state plans are being dropped because they do not provide MINIMUM required coverage but then say that the coverage in place offers nothing. Well they obviously offer the minimum (or they would have been dropped like you said) and that is apparently more coverage than the plans you are griping about being dropped.

  • Kamandak

    And pre- ACA – What options would he have had currently having stage 3 cancer? Oh yeah! ACA wiped out pre-existing conditions so before ACA came into law – no insurance company would have touched him let alone offered him coverage at $850 a month.

    • Mina

      Kamandak, you need to read my earlier post and the response by Merryem Ployer – I could not directly comment to the response that “I had the gall to tell the pastor to get his facts straight. He was paying for Junk coverage. Merryem must believe that it is ok to pay for coverage that would diagnose you with cancer but then to offer no coverage for what it is going to take to fight it. Merryem and the GOP would have this guy go bankrupt paying for an insurance plan that doesn’t offer any real coverage for catastrophic illnesses.
      Under ACA the new minimum standard would mean that you are actually getting something you paid for. Regretfully the President was probably unaware of the number of POS Junk insurance policies that were already on the market when he made the statement that if you liked your healthcare you could keep it. I find it interesting that the insurance companies let the president take the fall for the reality they created.
      Rather than admit they sold plans that were worthless if you were diagnosed with something serious, they skillfully were able to let the blame fall on ACA. Just like many companies making changes to their policies just in time to make it appear that it was Obama’s fault. I am sure the pastor knows a thing or two about in the end the truth will come out. Eventually the truth will come out.
      Channel 13 should have done a better job on reporting this story from both sides of the issue rather than appearing to be in the GOP’s pocket.

      • Kamandak

        Mina- My apologies, we are on the same page. I misinterpreted what you had wrote and did’t state myself very clearly.

  • Jody J

    VERY WELL PUT “Merryem Ployer” When is the American People Going to Understand that EVERYONE needs to stand up for Our Rights?!!

  • JF

    Funny that teabaggers would rather be sick, rather die, than use insurance available under the Mitt Romney/American Enterprise Institute plan… now that a democrat has implemented it nationwide.

    Sorry about the cancer, pastor, but if the ACA coverage is so evil, cancel your policy. Best of luck in any case.

  • Coffee Pot

    Yep pony up the 850 a month, which is 10,200 a year, and then the 7500 deductible. So for 15,000, I bet his other insurance would have paid for Chemo.
    the problem is, people that aren’t sick are getting charged that much too. But wait, I got it, lets raise the minimum wage, that fixes everything.

  • Randy Johnson

    I will never cease to be amazed at how negative some people can get when a man is down. Well, he may be down but he is not out! As a matter of fact, you are a overcomer Pastor Tony! Hang in there and my prayers are with you.

  • Mina

    I will never cease to be amazed at the number of people who continue to support the GOP in trying to repeal something that benefits them. The headline of this story plays exactly into the GOP’s hand, and the negativity coming from that side towards the affordable care act.
    I will call out the Julie Boonstra’s and the Pastor Angrans to educate them on how the program benefits them.
    This story could have been presented much better than it was. It could have focused on the fact that he should be thankful he had the ACA option. Who was the negative one there?

  • Brian

    So, let me see if I’ve got this: $438/month for a policy that leaves him with $50,000 in medical bills (and for a condition which had no relation to the reason that policy was as high as it was) = GOOD, but $850/month for actual coverage AFTER a cancer diagnosis = BAD. Is this that new math I’ve heard about? Pastor, I wish you well. WHO-TV – please quit pretending that what you do even approaches journalism.

  • CMGill

    Did the news station double check those numbers before running the story? The prices as quoted are nearly impossible if the plan were purchased through the exchange. Perhaps the base premiums are $850 and the Angrans are not aware the tax credits can be applied monthly, bringing their outlay to a little more than $50 per month? That’s the only scenario where I can make the numbers work.

    They state Pastor Angran’s deductible is $7000. The only plans available in his area of Iowa that have a deductible nearing that are 2 Bronze plans, one with a $6300 deductible, the other $6350. The most expensive of those, with 2 enrollees at the maximum age eligible (64), is $1231 per month. If, as stated at the end of the video, the Angrans are eligible for almost $800 in tax credits this policy would cost them about $450 per month, or about what was being paid for the policy that would not cover his chemo. The $1231 base premium quoted for the Bronze plan above would go down, as would premiums for all plans, if either Pastor or Mrs. Angran were several years younger than 64.

    For Pastor Angran to be facing a $1650 premium (his portion plus tax credit) he would have had to opt for a Gold or Platinum plan. The deductibles for those range from $500-1750. This is far less than the $7000 quoted.

    I went to healthcare(dot)gov/find-premium-estimates and plugged in the maximum age, 64, as this would give the highest premiums. Monthly base premiums are fixed by age for each plan regardless of income, increasing for older enrollees. Deductibles remain stable for each plan regardless of age or income. Tax credits can be applied monthly. There are no surcharges for pre-existing conditions.

  • davessworks

    It seems to me that Tony Angran is extremely fortunate that the ACA came along when it did. Had he cancelled his lousy insurance company and signed up for coverage at the beginning of the year he wouldn’t be out of pocket $50,000. To be able to get ACA coverage after being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer is a heck of a lot more compassionate than ANY medical insurance prior to the ACA. He should be thanking his lucky stars.

  • Newton

    •Shame on you, Aaron Brilbeck, for doing such a one-sided story, and shame on TV13 for allowing it to be broadcast. As written, this story should be about a person with two pre-existing conditions, heart and cancer, and the fact that he now has insurance to cover his conditions. •Without the ACA he would now have NO insurance.
    •Why was there no in-depth coverage as to which ACA plan he chose, and the related corresponding premiums? Why no explanation for tax credits for premiums explained?
    •This piece is shoddy, shallow journalism worthy of FOX “news” and Rush, and Glenn, ad nauseam.
    •Time to move on to become a FOX correspondent, Aaron.

    • JF

      I’m sure a job with FOX news would be a dream for a dishonest roach like Aaron. But it’s only a dream. He’s stuck in Iowa for the duration.

  • James

    This is truly sad and I feel for the pastor and his wife. I hope they find an answer to their prayers! I am afraid many of us don’t know or understand all the all the rules. Recently I was given this book as a gift and it explains how to find affordable healthcare for the uninsured and shows how to find alternative types of health coverage. The book is called “The Self-Pay Patient” by Sean Parnell. His website can be found at has useful information along with more information about his book. It’s definitely worth checking out especially with the upcoming deadline. I hope this helps others.

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