The White House says more than 7 million Americans signed up during the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment window, which ended Monday night. And that number is expected to rise, as states with their own health insurance marketplaces compile more data on the number of people who signed up.
But to date the ACA, also known as Obamacare, has been something short of a roaring success, with even the White House acknowledging that its Healthcare.gov website "got off to a rocky start in October." A recent CBS News poll says 53 percent of respondents disapprove of Obamacare, with 41 percent approving.
As part of the ACA, 3 million Americans under 26 are now covered under their parents' plans. But many younger people are also preferring to pay a penalty rather than sign up, due to its cost. As of last month, only one-fourth of ACA applicants were under age 34.
"It doesn't work for me," said San Jose, Calif., bartender Brian Roi. "I went to college. I have to pay all these student loans.... I'm paying credit card bills that occurred when I went to college."
Roi said he'd prefer to pay the penalty for not getting coverage under Obamacare: $95, or 1 percent of a person's taxable income, whichever amount is greater. For Roi, that penalty comes to around $350 for the year, compared to the $3,000 he'd have to pay for health care insurance as part of the ACA.
"I guess they're trying to scare people into doing it," he added. "But a smart person will realize that's only one month of insurance."
Robert Hicken, a self-employed entrepreneur, says he's willing to risk going without health insurance for now.
"I could have done it," he said. "I could have pulled the trigger, but that feeling in the back of my mind still kind of rubbed me the wrong way that I live here in the United States of America and I'm being forced to do something."
But Dana Howard, a spokesperson for Covered California, the state's new health insurance exchange, says not signing up could be a mistake.
"You might be able to come out ahead financially for a short time of paying the penalty and not paying for your premium," he noted, "but you will pay that penalty and you will have nothing to show for it."