NORTH COAST- Californians who need health insurance will be able to enroll through the state’s health insurance exchange starting Tuesday. United Way Humboldt Del Norte Regional Director Gabrielle Parkison said,
“In Humboldt county and Del Norte we have a tremendous amount of people who are uninsured, so this is an opportunity for them to look at how to receive health insurance coverage that is going to work for both themselves and their family.”
It is called Covered California, an online marketplace where uninsured people can buy health insurance, and Parkinson said it is vital to have affordable health coverage for those who need it.
It is not just low income people who need it, it is a huge amount of people along the North Coast. It is really students, both at Humboldt and College of the Redwoods, it is entrepreneurs, small business owners, and small business people,” she said.
President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and on Jan. 1 the law will require most Americans to have health insurance.
"One of the things that is key is preventative health, there will also be some assistance with mental health conditions. There are a lot of positive things with this Affordable Care Act and with Covered California I think it will benefit people along the North Coast," said Parkinson. “Through Covered California and the Affordable Care Act, no one is going to be turned away."
Parkinson said a large group of people who will see positive results are those in a time gap, who may have just lost their job at an older age, but still do not qualify for Medicare.
"That is an extremely vulnerable time for people and they have a chance at being covered and that is huge for a lot of people."
According to the California healthcare foundation one in five non-elderly Californians are uninsured, but the ratio is expected to fall to one in ten by 2016.
For more information about Covered California contact United Way of the Wine Country at (707) 443-8637.