By Chance Richardson
Open Enrollment for Covered California ends March 31st. That’s the deadline for Californians to obtain Medical Insurance Coverage without having to pay a tax penalty for not having health insurance. This comes as good news to many people who have not been able to afford medical attention, such as Nathan Coleman of Palm Desert, CA, “I sliced my hand on piece of broken glass while working in the shed. I needed stitches, but I was afraid to go to Urgent Care because I still owed them money from before.
My girlfriend stitched my hand up. Luckily, I did not get an infection. I just couldn’t afford another medical bill at the time.” For those individuals earning less than $15,860 a year are eligible for Medi-Cal which costs those who qualify nothing. Office visits and prescriptions are basically free.
Individuals who earn a little more money, between $15,860 to $45,960 a year, may be eligible for medical insurance with financial help. Depending on income and the number of family members, the government will help by paying a portion of the Medical premium. The less a person earns, the more the government will subsidize monthly payments. Now many can even afford to upgrade their coverage to a health plan of their choice.
However, although this may have helped struggling individuals, those who make more money have had their rates increased, with no subsidies made available to them. Insurance premiums are now based on your income and taxes, no longer your health history. “My health insurance policy for my husband and I and our son went from $598 to nearly $1,300 a month. It doubled because we make too much money. Now we can barely afford to make our house payments,” said Gail DeWitte of Cathedral City, CA
The bright side of the changes to Healthcare in California is that everyone needs to have health insurance. It is no longer a luxury provided by an employer. It has been deemed a necessity that everyone has to have – whether a person uses it or not or whether a person can afford it.