(David McNew/Getty Images)

December 23 is the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage that starts on January 1, 2014. In the last-minute rush to make the cutoff, nearly 50,000 people signed up through Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, in the first week of December alone. Are you a college graduate no longer on your parents’ insurance? A freelancer or business owner who doesn’t have a company plan? Are you unsure if you’re eligible for the expanded version of Medi-Cal? We take your questions about Obamacare and signing up for coverage in California.

Guests:
Lisa Aliferis, health editor for KQED News
Emily Bazar, senior writer at the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism

  • Liz

    When I called my doctor’s medical group to see if my doctor would still take my insurance, they didn’t seem to have a clue about what I was asking. When I asked about the Silver & Gold plans, you would have thought I was speaking a different language. If the medical groups don’t know, how do insurers know which groups will take their insurance? My medical insurance’s website hasn’t even updated their website so I can’t check there either so I am basically taking a gamble that I will still be able to see my doctor.

  • Bill_Woods

    ‘Young invincibles’ aren’t needed to “spread the risk”, they’re needed to buy overpriced policies to subsidize people 50-64.
    But “roughly in proportion to their share of the population” (approximate quote) is a lot less than their share of the segment of the population aged 26-64 that’s supposed to be buying policies.

  • Guest

    Young guy here. I signed up for Cover Cal health insurance yesterday. My monthly cost went up by $80 for what looked like the same catastrophic health plan that I had before. Age 29, making 60k, and healthy; Is this the way it is or do you have some suggestions that might improve my situation?

  • Jack Bowers

    I’ve been trying to sign up through covered CA for the last week and I can’t get past a seemingly nonsensical error half way through the application and I can’t for the life of me get help neither on the phone “help” line (which simply states they are experiencing high call volume, tells you to go to the website, then hangs up), nor using the online live chat which itself has an error. Even though I qualify for the subsidy, I’m thinking that the best thing to do is to sign up through a site such as ‘health sherpa’ and just pay it myself rather than deal with all the stress of dealing with the errors, or going into one of the centers and waiting all day for in-person help. Very frustrated…

    • Michael Nickerson

      I’m experiencing the same issues. So frustrating.

  • Kaye Chegwidden

    My health insurance policy was discontinued. I live in Santa Clara county. Anthem is still negotiating with Palo Alto medical foundation so there is no information whether my doctor is in network. This is also true of healthnet. So I have to sign up for a policy blind to whether my doctor is in network. In addition, the minimum cost for a policy is $540 per month which is 14% of income at $45,600 which is the cut off for subsidy. Affordable is defined as 8% of your income. You need an income of $81000 to have this amount be 8%. Therefor anyone on an income between 45,600 and 81000 is paying “unaffordable” rates. Very disappointing as I support the ACA but it is not working for me.

  • albany

    R U kidding? Everything this person you have on now, is saying “go to a whatever” don’t use the interenet to enroll”!!! How inconvenient & what a way to run this system!!!!!

    What about people who are healthy, spend less than $1000/year on medical, have no prescriptions – WE DON’T WANT OBAMA CARE!!!!! Why should healthy people who are older and have taken good care of themselves pay for others!!!!! I HATE THIS LAW AND WON’T ENROLL. The penalty is less than the coverage.

    The security issues and the fact that my MD’s most likely won’t be in this system is another reason I’m not interested in Obama Care.

    Why not let us wait a year to see how bad this whole system is before fining us!!!!

  • Veronica Dieu Vo

    I am moving to NY state for graduate school,where doesn’t accept me to their insurance market since I will still remain as a California Resident. What would you advise me to do? My income for the next year due to school will be basically zero. If I enroll for something here, would I be able to use it to choose a physician in another state?

  • Kaye Chegwidden

    Anthem doesn’t have a list because they are still in negotiation!

  • Christina

    What about us citizens living abroad? Do they have to be covered even though they can’t receive any benefit?

  • Kaye Chegwidden

    I have spent 3 hours on the phone trying to get through to Anthem. Their phone waits are horrendous.

  • Michael Nickerson

    I haven’t been able to enroll. The site does fine until I need to verify then it quits. The phone number is busy, the buttons to get local help don’t work, and on line chat kicks me off. I am glad others are having success but I am not. I hear how great it all works but I’m not impressed.

  • Heidi

    I applied over a month ago with a paper application because the website was not working. When will I hear back from Covered California whether I qualify for a tax subsidy?

  • erictremont

    Keep in mind that that the Federal goverment has given Covered California about $700 million to fund its start-up costs and operating budget for the first two years of its operations. Not sure if taxpayers are getting value for this massive expenditure.

  • Curious

    Hysterical that the two “experts” were flummoxed within the first few minutes by basic questions. This is a disaster and no amount of lipstick will make this pig any better,

  • Cleavetoo

    I have a friend who wrote to the White House about her difficulties involved in enrolling as well as her concerns about choices made for the policy. Her email was specific and informed. What’s interesting is that a senior HHS official called her, on a Sunday. He left a message with his direct number and his cell phone. When she called him back, they talked for about an hour. He listened to all her concerns and they had a very frank discussion about the policy and how it could be improved. He said that they are working to reach out to anyone who writes to the White House or HHS about the ACA. It is rare that our government is this accessible. I highly advise that you all reach out regardless of your position. All of it can certainly help.

    • Kaye Chegwidden

      Thank you for your comment. I just received a call from my congresswoman’s office after I emailed her about the situation. How delightful that they are this accessible!

      • Cleavetoo

        That’s fabulous news. I highly suggest also emailing the White House or Health & Human Services so that you can take your concerns directly to the source. I can’t guarantee they’ll get back to you but what the gentleman who spoke to my friend said, and I quote, “…the White House has directed us to personally respond to everyone who personally writes to us with concerns…” I think that makes it a pretty good chance that you’ll hear from someone. I don’t know how quickly they’ll get to you but they seem to be working weekends, nights and everything in between to get back to people who take the time to reach out. I know this is all very hard for so many people so best of luck!

  • Sara Razavi

    We enrolled my husband about a week ago and still haven’t heard back from Kaiser to make the first payment. I don’t want to remove him from my (very very expensive) insurance through my work until I know he’s set but I’m running out of time.

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