Health Care for the Holidays

Covered California home page

A version of this piece recently aired on KQED’s Perspectives.

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With the holidays here, I know just what I’m going to ask my daughter for this year. Emma’s almost 26, and like a lot of young adults, she’s piecing together a couple of part-time jobs while figuring out what comes next. I don’t want her to spend her hard-earned cash on stuff I don’t need. Instead, I’m asking Emma to make sure she signs up for something she needs: health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

It’s true that the rollout has been riddled with problems, but the Affordable Care Act’s tremendous benefits remain. Besides, Californians are lucky to have Covered California, the state’s fully functional and easy-to-navigate healthcare exchange. Those who enroll by December 23 will be covered when the law goes into effect January 1. What better way to start the New Year?

Our family has already benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act–it’s allowed us to keep our daughters on our plan until they turn 26. Soon, though, Emma will need her own health insurance. Before, she never could have afforded it. It’s hard to find jobs these days that offer coverage. Emma, like millions of Americans, might have been forced to rely on costly ER visits or the “Cross my fingers and hope I don’t need it!” plan. Now, under the Affordable Care Act, she and the many Californians like her who’ve risked disaster due to unattainable insurance will be eligible for expanded Medicaid, federal subsidies, or tax credits.

As parents, we make sure our kids are safe: teaching them to buckle up, wear bike helmets, and drive defensively. Grown-up children may think of themselves as Young Invincibles who don’t need insurance, but accidents and serious illness happen, putting health and family finances at risk. Here’s our chance to further guide our kids into responsible and secure adulthood, continuing to protect them by making sure they’re covered.

That’s why I’m asking Emma for the best present of all: good and affordable healthcare for her, peace of mind for me.

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Covered California: www.coveredca.com or 800-300-1506

Other states: check your local resources or www.healthcare.gov or 800-318-2596

Open enrollment period ends March 31, 2014

 

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