Dozens of healthcare workers and small business employees filled the conference room at Adventist Health Medical Center Friday for an informational town hall meeting about Covered California, the state agency implementing the federal affordable healthcare act.
While people from Covered California gave out details like how much a plan would be if you made a certain salary, or were a specific age, some still had questions about whether the plan is actually affordable for everyone. There questions were directed toward what some call the "kid glitch," which doesn't allow an employee's dependents to qualify for government subsidies for the Affordable Care Act if their employer already offers them affordable insurance.
"Our employers are left wondering if they should continue offering health insurance for their employees because of the flaw in the law," Jeanette Fagundes with James G. Parker Insurance said.
Others had questions about whether the Central Valley's farmworkers would be negatively impacted by the new law.
"One of our main questions was would the unlawfully being they cannot purchase insurance thru Covered California would they be penalized when they do their taxes because they do their taxes," Gloria Gomar with the Tulare Community Health Clinic said.
Gomar later learned farmworkers would not face penalties. Over the next few months Covered California will be pushing information on patients so they know their options about pricing and how to enroll. By March of 2014 every legal U.S. citizen must be enrolled in a health insurance plan or face hefty fines. Friday Covered California employees said no one will be denied coverage. Rates vary based on your income, age and dependents.
"We really want people to get the basics so on October 1 they go to covered California they go to a counselor and enroll. This is an historic event for them," Santiago Lucero from Covered California said.
Reports surfaced that Covered California may not be ready for the start of enrollment because they are still testing out the technology being used to enroll people. However Friday Covered California said they will be ready for enrollment October 1.