By Alfredo Camacho for South Kern Sol
New Years’ day is the first day that health coverage will begin under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for those who signed up by the enrollment deadline on Dec. 23. The original deadline was extended for those who began an application because healthcare.gov, the website for enrollment, crashed due to heavy traffic. But even with the new extension, many people are still not signing up.
And for some in Kern County there is still a general unease and confusion about the ACA or Obamacare, as it is more commonly known – the nation’s most sweeping change to healthcare since the passage of the Social Security Act.
One potential setback for the ACA is its advertising. Sharree Balderas, 19, is an uninsured mother of two who is only vaguely aware of the ACA and, like many youth, are confused about the law its effects or even when it will take effect.
“I don’t always pay attention and I’m uninsured, but my kids have health insurance through Medi-Cal,” said Balderas. ”I don’t get insurance from anybody.”
Balderas was who not aware that even if she didn’t make enough money to buy insurance, she would be subsidized for the costs through the ACA or, if she qualified, be offered free coverage through Medi-Cal. She did not know know about the March 31st deadline for open enrollment nor was she aware of the penalties for failing to enroll.
Even for youth who are knowledgeable about the enrollment process, the details are still confusing. Doris Michue, 24, is a student who is unsure about her qualification for the different insurance plans available.
Read more at South Kern Sol