More than seven million people signed up for health coverage for 2014 under President Obama’s health reform law, the Affordable Care Act. Specifically in California, droves of people flooded the online Covered California website to sign up, at times making it impossible to complete the application process. Others opted to seek help by phone or from health insurance brokers and certified enrollment counselors—although they too ran into problems with the Covered California website. There were likely some people who became frustrated with the whole process and probably gave up. If you didn’t enroll, then expect to incur a tax penalty next year.
The positive aspect of the ACA is that it will help benefit many people, including: students who are considered independent from their parents; people who have otherwise lost their medical insurance due to job loss or a “qualifying event”; or those who just cannot afford the cost of other healthcare options, such as COBRA. For those who cannot afford specific medical plans through Covered California, they may be eligible to obtain payment assistance through Medicaid.
As for the millions of people who are now covered through Obamacare, there’s a great sense of relief because they will now be able to seek proper medical care, which they previously may have had to put off because of the unfortunate financial circumstances they found themselves in.
I personally had not planned to sign-up for healthcare in late March. About three years ago, I was laid off from my job and gave up paying out-of-pocket for healthcare insurance because my monthly premiums became too expensive. Now I’m playing the waiting game with the government and Covered California, waiting for my paperwork to be processed.
Here’s hoping Covered California is prepared for the next surge of applicants enrolling in healthcare this fall, as well as the commotion and wrath conservatives will continue to make in opposition of the ACA.
- Jessie De La O, Communication Studies Student