Adventures In ObamaCare

So this post is a little bit off the writerly topic, but considering ObamaCare affects my fellow Americans, I figured it’d be a funny anecdote 🙂

My arduous ObamaCare journey begins in early March. I did the good little U.S. citizen thing and applied for the newly government-mandated insurance plan. Since I’m in LA, I had to sign up for Covered California. About a week later, I got this cute rejection letter in the mail:



“You do not qualify for Premium Tax Credits, Enhanced Silver Plan because: Based on the information you gave us, we believe you may be eligible for coverage through the Medi-Cal program. Your county of residence will contact you if more information is needed. You will receive a separate notice about your eligibility for Medi-Cal.”

Okay. So other Americans might to have to pay for my insurance because I’m too poor. I don’t like that idea, because honestly I never agreed with government-mandated insurance and I don’t want to eat up another person’s hard-earned money, but it looks like I don’t have a say in the matter. I guess I’ll wait for that letter from Medi-Cal.

Flash forward two months. I’m well into my getting-charged-for-not-having-insurance oblivion, and still no news. Just a day before I plan to call Covered, what shows up in my mailbox? You guessed it 🙂


“Medi-Cal has been denied. Here are the reason(s) why: Based on the information available to us, you are a Medically Indigent Adult.”

So. I’m not eligible for Covered California because I’m too poor. But I’m not eligible for Medi-Cal because I’m between the ages of 21-65, not totally disabled, not blind, not pregnant (sorry, I don’t feel like being a baby-maker yet), not institutionalized and not the proud parent of a kid who qualifies for “CalWORK’s deprivation requirement.”

Now what? It was a Sunday, so I couldn’t call. I logged on to my account on Covered California to be greeted with this beautiful screen:


Note my apparent Medi-Cal Eligibility.

Oh, and the phone number near the bottom 🙂

And that “Appeal Decision” link you see? Doesn’t work.


Today I finally had a chance to contact someone during work hours. My phone battery was low and I was too lazy to move my life over to the couch where it was charging, so I decided to try their newfangled “Live Chat” option.

And this is where things began to get quite nasty (on my end, at least).

“Hi, my name is Carrie. How can I help you?”

(I explain my issue in detail. No reason to bore you with monotony.)

“For verification purposes please provide the following information:

-Your full name

-You’re email address

-You’re phone number

-What do you believe to be your user name?”

The grammar Nazi in me all but imploded. Really Carrie?? You work in an online chat center. You have *one job* to do; write to people clearly and concisely. That means comprehending and effectively utilizing the difference between “you’re” and “your.”

Now, I have to admit I’ve been quite the bitter tomato lately, what with the layoff from my dream editing job. I’ve been desperately searching for work, and for months, nothing has panned out. I would love to have her cushy government job — angry customers and all.

Anyway, I closed my eyes for ten seconds, did a few Buddhist “Oms” and regained my composure just enough to type an answer.

A minute later:

“One or more of the answers provided do not match our records. I apologize for the inconvenience but by law I will not be able to discuss the details of this application with you.”

So apparently I don’t know the basics of me.

I signed out, got up and grabbed my phone. After some finagling (Press 1 for English! Press 2 for questions about your policy! Press 1 for English again, just in case Russian became your mother language in the 20 seconds since we last asked!), I got on the line with a guy who sounded like he knew what he was talking about (finally!). I explained the situation, and he knew exactly what was going on.

Apparently there are (new!) glitches in the Covered California system. This past week, Medi-Cal computers began their inevitable uprise against their Creators and automatically sent out rejection letters across California. I was apparently a victim.

“So, call us back in a week and we’ll give you an update.”


Anyone else in California (or the rest of the U.S. for that matter) having issues with the new system? How does everyone who is currently covered feel about the new insurance plans?

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