Californians sign up as Obamacare goes online

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Updated: October 1, 2013

Long wait times plagued those trying to get information on the Affordable Care Act today. KCRW producer Saul Gonzalez was on hold for 48 minutes before he got through to someone on the phone. But there’s still plenty of time to enroll. Here are few basics:

The deadline to be eligible for January coverage is December 15th. Open enrollment ends March 31. After that you could face a fine for not carrying health insurance.

There are four tiers of insurance all with different pricing schemes. Below, listen to a conversation about where the Affordable Care Act falls short and how it will change our health care.

There are nearly seven million Californians without health insurance, which is why the state was the first to embrace the Affordable Care Act, launching the state exchange, Covered California. But with Obamacare set to go into effect next week, many are still very confused about what this means for them.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a new study out looking at how prepared Californians are for the change in health coverage.  It found that most Californians feel the need for health insurance, even among 19-25 year olds, the youngest and healthiest.  But back in August, Seventy percent of  California’s eligible uninsured said that they didn’t have enough information to understand how the law will impact them. Since then, a marketing plan has gone into effect, trying to get the information out.  California will plans on spending $80 million on its Obamacare media campaign, plus nearly $70 million more on other forms of outreach.

From the Kaiser study:

Eight in ten uninsured Californians feel the need for health insurance

  • According to the survey, a large majority of California’s eligible uninsured1 – eight in ten – do feel they need health insurance coverage. Even seven in ten (72 percent) of the youngest uninsured Californians – those ages 19 to 25 – say they need health insurance.

  • Many have not had coverage for some time, though. About two-thirds have been without health insurance for at least two years. One in five say they’ve never had health insurance. Cost remains the primary reason for not having health insurance, followed by job loss.

  • A majority of the uninsured (57 percent) do believe that health insurance is worth the money it costs, while just over a third disagree. These views are obviously based on perceptions of the cost of coverage before the opening of exchange enrollment in October.

KQED has a great interactive of how the law will affect you.