A common emotion with everyone I’ve worked with to enroll in the new ACA health plans is a moderately high level of anxiety over the future of their health insurance. Most people are anxious to sign up before some group of politicians becomes successful in pulling the health insurance rug out from underneath them. I have witnessed a very palpable sense of relief on the part of folks who do enroll in Covered California health plans as they know their journey in the wilderness without health insurance is about to end. The following was graciously written by Joanne whose journey is not quite over, but is getting close. -Kevin Knauss
She starts her climb to the top of health insurance hill
When I knew I had to eventually sign up for healthcare with CoveredCA, I procrastinated and instinctively cringed at the thought of having to figure out on my own some things like terms and conditions, clauses and exceptions and the monetary variables, let alone the insurance lingo that always seems to spew forth in written policies and from insurance agent’s mouths. It was mind-boggling putting it mildly! But I needed health insurance desperately having gone without it for close to two years. Knock on wood, I am a relatively healthy woman but because I’ve been unemployed for awhile and deal with a disability, I had many questions that most other folks would not have in signing up for insurance via Covered California, www.coveredca.com.
Surveying the landscape
So I bit the bullet and attended a local community presentation by a volunteer from a Certified Educator for CoveredCA adding to the information I had recently researched online. After the talk, I conferred with the presenter who was a volunteer through Sacramento Mighty Oaks and stated my concerns about my situation. She was wonderful, gladly offering to be in touch with me with answers in the days that followed. I had been reading and hearing that these volunteers and agents were overwhelmed with requests for more information and assistance so understood this slight delay in getting back to me. I will pause long enough here to applaud all their efforts in helping so many people obtain some very important information (in layman’s terms, I might add) and get a handle on the ACA and CoveredCA and how it works – very generous of them to spend their time helping so many!
Finding a hiking companion
Long story short, out of this meeting I was put in touch with Kevin Knauss who was kind enough to sit down with me in person and take me step-by-step through the online enrollment/application process. Along the way and much to my relief, he answered those aforementioned questions that I had been particularly concerned about. Admittedly, there was some stumbling around online because the website was not cooperating with our efforts all the time so we had to back-track or re-enter information. But we finally completed the process which resulted in a health plan for me. A few days later however, we realized we needed to tweak the application and re-enter information due to a miscalculation of household income.
Steep grade ahead
This is when the ‘beast’ that insurance agents and the public alike (naysayers and supporters of ACA and CoveredCA) have been talking about for weeks now, reared its ugly head and silently carried out its tantrum refusing to allow access. Despite our best efforts, Kevin nor I have been able to get back into the system and make the necessary edits that will bring about the insurance plan I am needing – and wanting – to purchase.
Temporary rock slide
I can only imagine what it must be like for someone like Kevin who is dealing with not just me but many other clients as well. How can he help get everyone up and running with their respective enrollments/applications if the website does not work properly? This is embarrassingly crazy for all parties involved! And yet, due to the length of time this problem has persisted (over a month now); I’m inclined to think that CoveredCA doesn’t consider this to be an embarrassment or crazy.
Are they rebuilding the bridge?
I’d like to think that CoveredCA and the folks behind it are better than that though. It is imperative, not only for the health and well-being of thousands and thousands of people but also for CoveredCA itself, that they and their affiliates invest in the tools and people necessary to get this beast slain once and for all. This is certainly not what the authors of the ACA envisioned when they signed it into law a few years back! In addition, CoveredCA needs to show respect and appreciation to their folks on the front line – the agents and volunteers that are meeting daily with enrollees – and give them straight answers and reliable tools necessary to do their jobs in a professional and timely manner. They deserve that much….and so much more! Let’s get it together CoveredCA….you ARE better than this….right?!