There are just 4 days left until the Monday March 31st deadline to apply for health insurance coverage via the CoveredCA.com health insurance marketplace. Sign up now!
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was signed in 2010 to reform our health insurance system. People with pre-existing conditions are able to access insurance, you are protected from being dropped by your insurance company if you get sick, young adults can stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26, many preventative care services are now free, there are no longer lifetime limits on coverage for your insurance plan, and much more. Read more about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act here.
The Health Insurance Marketplace (CoveredCA in California) was opened up last October to allow people to select a plan for 2014, if they do not already have adequate coverage. Anyone is eligible to use the marketplace, as long as they live in the United States, are a US citizen or national, and not in jail or prison.
Most people must have health coverage in 2014 or pay a penalty. If you don't have coverage, you'll pay a fee of either 1% of your income, or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), whichever is higher. You'll pay the fee on your 2015 income taxes.
Time is running out. If you don't enroll by March 31, 2014, you can't get private health insurance inside the Marketplace until the next open enrollment period starts (November 15th).
If the process seems confusing and you're not sure what to do, take advantage of the in-person or telephone help while you can. The CoveredCA service center is open all weekend from 8am-8pm as well as on Monday, March 31, Cesar Chavez Day, a state holiday, from 8-8.
If you can't afford health insurance, they can help you figure out what assistance is available -- including Medi-Cal. But you need to start working on it now, if you wait until the last minute phone lines and websites will probably be jammed.