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ObamaCare Enrollment Deadline Approaching Fast PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Terry   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 03:49

Photo Courtesy OFA

March 31 Deadline Looming For Those Seeking Medical Insurance

The drive to register people for medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as ObamaCare, is taking on a greater urgency as the March 31 deadline approaches. Representatives of Organizing For Action (OFA), a national grassroots organization founded after President Obama’s 2012 re-election, spent part of the day on in Los Angeles’s McArthur Park, on Feb. 11, attempting to inform those without medical insurance who qualify, but haven’t yet enrolled, on the need to do so. “Los Angeles county has the biggest concentration of medically uninsured in the country,” said Peter Rothenberg, a Southern California OFA representative.

“Unfortunately, a lot are Latinos who don’t know what the program is, how to get enrolled or are concerned with getting involved in a government program. “They are among the people who can benefit the most. If they are low income, they probably qualify for Medi-Cal, which is free health coverage. And like most people in California, you may qualify for a subsidy, where the government plays part of premium directly.

The lower your income, the greater the subsidy.” Dr. Patti Culross, Public Health consultant, OFA expert on ObamaCare and one of the featured speakers during the hour-long press conference, echoed Rothenberg’s sentiments.

“Although the state as a whole will likely meet its (enrollment) goal, Los Angeles County may not meet its goal,” Culross said. “The county is projected to meet only 74 percent of its goal by March 31…We know we aren’t reaching Latinos as well as we need to because...Although about 19 percent of those enrolled identify as Latino when Latinos represent about 38 percent of the state’s population; however, Latinos may be over-represented in Medi-Cal.” Culross also pointed out that more than 600,000 had enrolled with Covered California, though Jan. 15. Nationwide, almost three million have enrolled for private insurance.

“Remember, ACA’s goal is to connect people with affordable, accessible, reliable and understandable health insurance. Because high prices and coverage restrictions have kept health coverage out of reach for so many people. Based on these numbers we are well on our way to achieving these goals,” Culross said. Other speakers provided testimonials of how the new medical coverage has helped them.

Woodland Hills resident Val Katz said before ACA, she and her family were paying a $2,300 a month premium under their previous medical plan. “We had no choice because I am a three-time breast cancer survivor, my husband had heart surgery in 2005, and my son has health issues too,” Katz said. “We needed a PPO plan in order to keep the doctors we had a prior history with.

Thanks to ObamaCare, we will now be covered by Blue Shield of California with a premium of just over $1,800 per month. We qualified for a subsidy from the government and we are paying just under $1,100 for our coverage.

“We now have better coverage and no deductible. We selected the PPO Platinum plan to be able to keep our doctors and feel safe in the knowledge that we will not go bankrupt from having health insurance.

This has given us a peace of mind that has not been afforded to us in many years.” There have been numerous problems for those wanting to enroll, from non-working websites and error-filled applications to long waits to be enrolled due to a backlog of applications to be processed.