Deadline looms for uninsured to sign up for coverage


Zach Tierney

Workers at the Covered California table in the student center provide information and help for students applying for Obamacare.

Ed Gebing and Ed Gebing

The deadline to enroll for Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, is March 31 and American River College students can get more information and get help enrolling from the representatives that will be on campus Wednesday and Thursday.

People will be available to answer questions today and tomorrow in the Student Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

They will have an extra hour Thursday from 1:30-2:30 p.m to help those interested in enrolling and will be located in the aquarium conference room of the Student Center for that last hour.

Students can also make appointments to sign up with the help of these individuals at a different time, before the end of the month.

“The great thing about the college is that it attracts people and their families,” Covered California representative Valarie Scruggs said.

The age range of people stopping by and seeking information is anywhere from “21-50s.”

On March 20 there was at least one person on campus who took the time to utilize the services and enrolled in the healthcare program.

According to Gloria Powell, another Covered California representative, the signup process takes “20 minutes to do the paperwork and another 20 minutes to upload it.”

The representatives feel that the table set up to promote the service has been very beneficial to the students.  There are usually anywhere from a dozen up to 20 students who stop by the table seeking information everyday they are at ARC.

“The (table) has made it really convenient for students,” Scruggs said.  “It has been very helpful to give them additional support to make sure they are doing their applications right and complete.”

According to the Covered California website, “the latest enrollment figures from mid-February show that total enrollment has reached 828,638, the majority of whom are eligible for subsidies.  A full 80 percent have paid their first month’s premium. Additionally, more than 1.5 million people are in the process of being newly enrolled in the state Medicaid program as a result of the expansion.”

Those without health insurance this year will be fined under the new law $95 or up to one percent of their income whichever is more.  The penalty for a family would be $247 or up to one percent of the household income.

The next open enrollment period is scheduled to begin on Oct. 15, however people with certain exceptions can enroll later. For example, if someone was dropped from their health insurance at work they would be able to apply with an exception.