More than 7 million people signed up for health coverage under President Obama's health reform law in 2014.
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 Affordable Care Act is that it will 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 simply 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.
For the millions of people who are now covered through Obamacare, there's a great sense of relief, because they can now get proper medical care, which they previously may have had to put off due to the unfortunate financial circumstances.
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, while my paperwork is processed.
Here's hoping Covered California is prepared for the next surge of applicants enrolling in healthcare this fall, as well as the commotion conservatives will continue to make in opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Jessie De La O is a student at Sonoma State University and a freelance writer.
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