I have been without healthcare for five years. My biggest fear was getting really sick or being seriously injured. That meant not playing any kind of contact sport, praying that the weird cough I had would go away and using an over the counter inhaler when my prescription ran out. I was one of the millions of Americans that could not afford health insurance.
In 2010, when the Obama administration announced their goal to make healthcare affordable; I followed the story religiously. I saw a chance for me to be a part of something larger to change the way we see healthcare in the U. S.
Currently, I am doing outreach about the Affordable Care Act in California known as Covered California. If you are currently underinsured or have no insurance then Covered California wants you. The mission of Covered California is to increase the number of Californians with health insurance, reduce healthcare coverage costs and make sure everyone has fair and equal access to healthcare.
Currently, a person that is chronically sick without health insurance really has only two options: long waits in the County Emergency Room or private Urgent Care facilities that do not provide follow up care. This is causing a ripple effect throughout our entire healthcare system in the U.S. and shows that we are not doing enough to help prevent emergencies for patients. In addition to lack of prevention many people fear getting really sick because the inability to pay for healthcare is part of their reality.
Fact: Sixty percent of bankruptcies in this country are due to medical expenses.
Covered California (part of the Affordable Care Act) hopes to change this sad reality with tax breaks, subsidies to help cover the costs of co-pays for individuals and families that financially qualify and new protections including that no one can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Additionally, Medi-Cal is being expanded for individuals and families, based on financial need. This isjust the tip of the iceberg; there are a lot more changes being rolled out on January 1, 2014.
October 1st is the first day of enrollment for new affordable healthcare options in California. You will be seeing Covered California everywhere. The state has also launched a user friendly website, which is www.coveredca.com