At about 5 a.m. this morning, SEIU – United Healthcare Workers West, opened their doors to individuals and families who have yet to sign up for health insurance. The organization is holding an “Enroll-a-thon” event in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Oakland and Richmond to get as many people covered as possible. Los Angeles and Sacramento locations plan to enroll individuals up until 12 a.m. – before the deadline.
“If they start the process by midnight, they will have until April 15th to finish the process,” said Senior Communications Specialist for SEIU – UHW West, Sean Wherley. “Starting means something as simple as creating a profile through the Covered California website or [going] to an in-person event.”
Wherley went on to say that if individuals go to one of the in-person event locations, they are required to bring four documents in order to enroll. The documents include:
- Proof of identity (Photo ID, Driver’s license, or U.S. Passport)
- Proof of address (Any postmarked piece of mail sent to you)
- Proof of income (Pay stubs for the last 30 days, 2012-2013 income tax filings, unemployment benefits etc.)
- Proof of citizenship (Birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Permanent Resident card, or Certificate of Citizenship)
Social security cards are also required for everyone who is applying.
A recent poll conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that six in ten of uninsured are unaware of the March 31st deadline to sign up for health insurance. The poll also found that four in ten of uninsured individuals do not know about the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies to help those with lower incomes get coverage.
“With today being the last day, people are now motivated to come down and get coverage,” said Wherley. “In some cases there are people who maybe weren’t aware or didn’t know if they were eligible, and how much it might cost. Finally having done that homework, they’re ready and that’s why we had 50 people waiting at 4 a.m. at our Los Angeles event.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports over 4 million have signed up for affordable plans through the Marketplace. Of the 4.2 million that have signed up between October 1, 2013 and March 1, 2014, more than half (55 percent) are female, 31 percent are age 34 and under, and a quarter (25 percent) are between ages 18 and 34. Over 80 percent of enrollees were also eligible for financial assistance.
Wherley added that if you aren’t able to attend one of the in-person events, you can also get coverage through the marketplace website at Covered CA or call the phone number listed on the site for phone assistance. Other state residents can find their state’s marketplace website at HealthCare.gov.
“If you haven’t started the process by midnight tonight, you don’t get that deadline extension, and that’s important because if people don’t sign up or start the process, there’s a fine of either $95 or 1 percent of their income, which is greater,” said Wherley. “That’s pretty significant, so that should serve as a motivation for people. Definitely come and get covered.”