On March 15 I went to a lovely party. By the end of the night I had helped two people sign up for Obamacare. No, I'm not in the insurance business, but I did do some research for a HuffPost blog I wrote soon after the Affordable Care Act went into effect. It was about Santa Cruz Women's Health Center which is doing amazing work in their community getting people successfully signed up for better coverage than they previously had. I witnessed how easy it was to get people enrolled. In the case of SCWH Obamacare was and continues to be a win-win-win.
I have also been consistently surrounded by people delighted by the effects of Obamacare, So when I hear of an individual who is not covered by their employer being uninsured I want to jump out of my skin!
So when I ran into a woman at this party who clearly had serious medical issues that had been unattended since she lost her job months ago, I asked the hostess if we could call her after she left. As we called I logged into coveredca.gov to discover that that very midnight was the deadline for her to sign up and have coverage on April 1, which she clearly needed. Over the course of the next hour, we got her successfully signed up, and also got the hostess signed up so that she could, to her delight, save $329/month as of April 1!
The only reason that neither of them had even gone to the website was fear. They had both heard the nightmare stories about the website, and both assumed it would end up costing more than they could afford. And, in the case of the woman who is quite ill, there was yet another layer of fear. Even seeing a doctor to get a diagnosis was overwhelming her. She knows she is ill and doesn't want to face that, so that will be the next fear hurdle to jump.
There are only 10 more days left in the open enrollment. This is a call to action to reach out to people you know who are not covered and encourage them to at least check it out. Most likely they too will be surprised by how easy and affordable it is. It takes very little time to get a list of usually 30 coverage options here in California, but definitely a solid list of options in all states.
I have helped one or two people sign up every day since Saturday, and I will continue to support uninsured people in any state until that March 31 cut-off. If they miss this deadline, the next open enrollment period doesn't start until November 15 for 2015 coverage. Why let people go uninsured for the rest of 2014 when only fear is stopping them? At least have them get straight on what it is that is causing their fear: help them get the facts. When you make the unknown known you have your power. Three steps: 1) Log in, 2) answer the questions, and 3) see what the options are.
One mighty sword to help slay our seemingly impenetrable fears is partnership. Buddy up with your friend or family member, tell them you are there to support them. Watch their fear start to melt away. Then when they get the numbers, watch them light up because not only will they very likely get coverage for a great price, but they will have overcome their fear. And that is a very powerful thing, no matter who you are. You can both put on a well-deserved cape and celebrate that!