Friday night, December 20, I applied for health insurance in about 20 minutes on the California Covered Care website. The application process is very similar to the style of TurboTax or TaxAct. There is left tab with an overview and an interview process to fill in information. I found it very easy to use and navigate.
Supposing, that I couldn't figure out the website, there was a YouTube video(see below) to watch that explained the whole process. By mistake, I clicked on ad in Spanish when searching for the Covered Care website and had to type in the website address from the flyer because I wanted to apply in English. I received several flyers in my mail box that gave the basic information needed. I knew I needed to have my income ready, which was why I waited so long.
The only glitch, I experienced, was that to upload proof of income, the website would not accept a bank statement from Wells Fargo Bank in the PDF format. Wells Fargo, lets you download bank statements in the PDF format. Fortunately, for me I know how to covert a PDF file to individual JPEG pages, (I used Adobe Acrobat) . It would have been nice, if somewhere it showed that the documentation what types of files would be allowed. Also fortunately for me, I own a scanner and was able to scan my California driver's license for proof of California residency. If I didn't have a scanner, I could have taken a photo of it with my cellphone.
In order to be a secure website, there were five security questions many of which were strange and questions that I know I will not remember about first children and other things that don't apply to me. Now that I look at the questions, I realized that they have a very California-style tilt. Because the security questions were so strange, I took two screen shots of my answers for:
- What color was your first car? Mine was two colors.
- What was the first street you lived on? There are two ways to spell the street and it changed names while I was living there.
- What is your favorite beverage? Well on this I'm can't decide between Vernor's Ginger Soda (diet), Honey Ginger Green Tea, SporTea or Diet Pepsi.
- What was your Mother's middle name? This is public record which is not the best security question, but I do remember it.
- What is your favorite summer destination? Here we go with the favorite thing again, Hawaii is my favorite destination in the winter and I have all kinds of favorite places to go during the summer.
I suggest that you also take screen shots to save for your security questions and keep them some place safe.I didn't mind because all the questions insure that a bot can't hack into my account.
There is also an option to "Report a Change" so that you can return in the future to buy or apply for other options. In general, the design of the website is clean with easy to fill forms. At one point, I typed in my address incorrectly and I received and error message that showed my correct address.
My only criticism is that when I went back to edit one form, I had to go through each form again just like I have to do TurboTax and TaxAct, which appears to be an industry standard and necessary to make sure that people are not defrauding the United States Government. There were places where text was not perfectly aligned but it did not bother me.
As someone who does not have insurance, I am grateful that as of January 1, I will be covered. The coverage is not what Meg Whitman (CEO HP) or Melissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo!) have but at least I won't worry about having to pay to see a doctor or go to the hospital.
The constant berating of Obama Care and Covered Care in the news, appears to be by people who don't care or don't have medical coverage. Maybe we should take away health insurance from the House and Senate and then we'll see them stop berating and start signing-in and signing-up.
I rate the Covered Care California website 4 out 5 for being the absolute best option available to self-employed people. In time, I'm sure it will accept more file formats. When Google Docs was launched there were formatting and compatibility problems, too.
I'm proud to live in a country where care about the health our citizens and that we provide free government cell phones via the Lifeline service to people who need it.
What took the longest time, before I started the application process, was as a self employed writer/editor, I had to calculate my income for 2013. I did spend an hour or so downloading all my bank transactions into Quicken and then making a report to calculate income.