By Peter V. Lee
It’s the season for family, friends and deadlines. Time is running out to get that perfect gift, to get it delivered on time, and to change someone’s life.
The deadline to enroll in Covered California and get health care coverage starting January 1 is coming up fast. We all know someone who needs to complete their application and pick their plan by December 23 in order to start the new year with the peace of mind that comes with coverage.
Tens of thousands of Californians have already signed up for quality health care coverage that’s affordable. In fact, more than 50,000 people enrolled in a recent three-day stretch, but so many more are still eligible to do so. That’s why it’s crucial for all of us to spread the word — right now.
Earlier this month, Covered California helped launch a national campaign to educate consumers about the Affordable Care Act. The “Tell a Friend — Get Covered” campaign is about friends telling friends to get covered. It doesn’t matter if you have five friends, 500 or 5 million. We all know someone who has been living in fear of getting sick or living one accident away from financial ruin.
People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” Adam Levine, joined our cause. He and other stars, such as Tatyana Ali, Pitbull and Fran Drescher, have told millions of fans and followers how important it is to make sure people know how to protect themselves and get the health care coverage they deserve.
Just as important are people like Christina Flores. She’s an after-school teacher and cosmetologist in Southern California. Her aunt heard about the Affordable Care Act and signed up to get covered. Christina’s aunt told Christina’s mother, who had been without health insurance for 20 years, and now she is getting covered. Christina’s mother told her, and now, starting January 1, Christina will be covered too.
The message didn’t stop there. Christina has about 200 friends on Facebook, and she told each one of them. While I don’t have many friends on Facebook, I reached out to all of them, including my nephew, who I know needs insurance.
We’ve also launched the “Give the Gift of Health” campaign to help family members encourage their younger relatives to get covered. We want to make sure that their loved ones enroll and are protected on New Year’s Day.
The bottom line is this: Every one of us needs to do what we can to make sure people know how Covered California can help them in our state, and how the Affordable Care Act can help those across the country, because this is a historic moment that is changing America for the better.
December 23 is just the first of many deadlines. People can actually enroll in Covered California all the way up until the end of March. However, if you know someone who wants to be covered on January 1, you need to tell them now.
As the year 2013 comes to an end, so will the fear and uncertainty that millions of uninsured Californians and Americans face every day. I’ve said it before: This is not about Washington, D.C., the politics or the pundits. This is about you, your family, your friends and your community. This is about the peace of mind that so many have been without for so long. This is a new era for health care in America.