Today, President Obama answered questions on Quora, a leading question-and-answer website, about Affordable Care Act enrollment and how the law affects young people across America.
The deadline to enroll for health care coverage for this year is March 31 — only seven days from now — so if you're not covered yet, sign up today at HealthCare.gov. And if you do have health insurance, make sure to tell your friends, family, and co-workers why they need to get covered. Visit WH.gov/GetCovered for tips on how to spread the word.
Read the President's responses to Quora users' questions below.
A: First of all, if you still need to sign up for health insurance, you should go to HealthCare.gov right now and sign up for coverage. You've got just seven days left until the March 31st deadline. It’s last call for 2014 if you want to be covered this year.
Now, it's no secret to anyone that we had some issues with the website at launch. But that was months ago. Thanks to a team of experts who worked around the clock to get the site working back then, response times on HealthCare.gov are faster than ever. Most young people are eligible for financial help to make health insurance more affordable. And more than 5 million people have already signed up for coverage -- with tens of thousands more signing up every day.
We’ve also added more call center staffers to help people enroll over the phone, and launched new search tools at localhelp.healthcare.gov where you can find in-person help with filling out your application.
Historically, we know that most people buy health insurance close to the enrollment deadline. We’re human. We procrastinate. Massachusetts, which passed a health care law in 2006 that served as a model for the Affordable Care Act, saw similar trends early on in its enrollment period. In the first month people could sign up for plans in Massachusetts, just 123 people enrolled. After the first four months, 15,560 people had enrolled. And more than 20 percent of all those who enrolled in that first year signed up in the last month.
But the broader reason that enrollment has improved these past few months is that the Affordable Care Act is working. Folks are recognizing that quality, affordable health care is available to them in the marketplace, very often with a tax credit that lowers monthly premiums and makes coverage even more affordable. For many Americans, it's the first time they've been able to afford care at all.
So, one more time: If you still need to sign up for health insurance, go to HealthCare.gov right now and get yourself covered -- this is the last call for 2014.
A: First and foremost, it’s last call for 2014. If you haven’t signed up for health insurance and want to be covered in 2014, you should go to HealthCare.gov right now and sign up for coverage. You've got just seven days left until the March 31st deadline.
The whole point of health insurance is to protect you from massive medical bills that come with illness or injury. None of us are invincible – we all get sick or get into accidents. So for young people, health insurance is about peace of mind. It gives you the freedom to try several jobs until you find the one you love, chase that new idea, or start your own business, without fear that the unexpected will derail your dreams.
Before I signed the Affordable Care Act, many young people had difficulty finding affordable health insurance as they were starting their careers. Some were able to get coverage through their employer, but those who couldn’t often went without health insurance altogether. And that’s mostly because too often plans on the individual market were prohibitively expensive, and young people with pre-existing conditions were turned down when they applied for coverage because of their health history.
Today, thanks to the health care law, young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26. Young people can also shop for coverage online through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can compare plans and benefits and enroll in a plan that fits your budget, and many young people qualify for tax credits to help make coverage even more affordable. In fact, seven in ten single young adults without insurance now may get covered for under $100 a month through the Marketplace.
The law also provides new protections and benefits that are especially important for young people. Insurance companies now have to provide free preventive care that will help you stay healthy. They have to provide contraceptive care for women at no extra cost. Insurance companies can’t deny coverage or charge you more because you’ve been sick in the past, and they can’t charge women more than men for the same coverage.
So here’s the bottom line. If you want to take a chance and start your own business, or try multiple careers before you settle down, you’re not going to have to wonder whether or not you can do that because you’re worried about maintaining insurance coverage. And that’s what this law is about: health care that’s there for you when you need it; financial protection for you and your family if you get sick; the security of knowing that when life happens, you’ll be protected.