I don’t have health insurance.
I was on my parent’s insurance plan but then I graduated. No school, no insurance—even if you are under the age of 26 apparently. According to the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) young adult FAQs, I should look for a special enrollment period. It wasn’t until I tried to make a doctor’s appointment this week that I realized my membership in the not-so-secret-society of uninsured Americans. I’m not sure when my parent’s provider will have a special enrollment period. As much as we’d like them to, health issues can’t always wait. I needed an immediate remedy to this problem. Aha! The Affordable Healthcare Act, or “Obamacare,” as some call it, was put into place so that every American can have viable healthcare options. So I didn’t fret. I set about creating a profile on Healthcare.gov and began to browse the Healthcare Marketplace to see what I qualified for as a single, young adult doing consultant work.
I haven’t filed taxes this year yet, and thank goodness I haven’t, because I could have possibly been fined according to the individual mandate portion of the ACA. If an individual doesn’t have health insurance by March 31, 2014, they could incur $95 fine or 1% of their taxable income. I don’t want those problems, what I want or need rather is decent, affordable healthcare.
So I made my profile, filled in all of my info and it surprising only took a few minutes. After filling it out, I was satisfied and I submitted the application. My cursor disappeared and it took a while for my screen to load. An “Error” page popped up. It indicated that there was some problem and that I should logout, login and try again or call 1-800-318-2596. I logged out, logged in and re-verified my info twice. Same page error appeared. So I gave them a call.
A very pleasant lady took my call. I told her what was happening and she shared my concern, but assured me she’d do her best to work everything out. She found my app and asked me to verify my info. She attempted to submit the info, but the same blue “Error” screen popped up for her too. She told me to try again every few hours, or just to create a new account and try again.
Now I’m embarrassed. Those of us, who rally for reforms such as these, take even the tiniest failures seriously. Yet, I logged on to the Healthcare Marketplace and couldn’t even get my application through. I inquired about possible maintenance period last week or if I had missed the deadline. The representative told me that those issues didn’t affect the present inconvenience. She said there was some sort of “glitch.” I really hate it when Fox News is right about anything, but there really might be a “glitch.”
After four months of open enrollment, 3.3 million people have signed up for private insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. No one is sure how many people have paid the premiums. The exact numbers will be revealed later this spring at the end of the quarter. The program may not accomplish it’s projection of 7 million enrollments by May, and this may be why. Folks simply can’t get an application through, online or over the phone. I volunteer for the MS State Conference NAACP and they are partnering with Congressman Bennie Thompson to do an education and enrollment tour to get more Mississippians signed up through ACA. I may not just be volunteering over the next few weeks; I need the help myself.
I’ve even heard that trying to get individual health insurance through the Marketplace was probably going to be expensive for me because I’m a single person with “okay” income, but I just wanted to see for myself. Now I’m in healthcare limbo, just waiting for the kinks to be worked out. I know the program’s success relies heavily upon the enrollment of young adults ages 18-34. I need healthcare and the Obama Administration needs the young adult enrollment numbers, 38% to be exact. I hope we can help each other.
I’m not giving up on Obamacare because I support access to quality, affordable healthcare for all people. I also feel extremely conscious of President Obama’s decisions and initiatives because I know I help put him there. I believe this will work. I’m asking anyone reading this to go sign up if you don’t have health insurance. You need quality, affordable healthcare. I know that creating a better America for all people isn’t easy. Uninsured, but hopeful– I’m still with you, Mr. President. But geesh… this is frustrating.