Online Health Marketplace Debuts, But Some Dallas Residents Sign Up On Paper
There’s been a lot of hype about the online Health Insurance Marketplace opening Oct. 1. And while it did open as planned, the traffic was intense. So intense that some people in Dallas had to go with old-fashioned paper and pen.
Healthcare.gov has so much traffic this morning, people at Parkland who had planned to assist with online applications are walking through the steps page by page.
Like the others who came to sign up for health coverage, Luis Veloz will have to mail out his application for health care before he can see the details. But he doesn’t mind.
“I’m not waiting another day,” Veloz says. “I’m not willing to say maybe I’ll get on tomorrow or next week. I want o do it today knowing I’ve done something to better myself and better my health know if anything does happen I’ll be insured.”
Veloz is a student at Mountain View Community College. His school doesn’t offer health care and although he’s not sick, he’s seen what can happen if you go without coverage.
“Unfortunately my father didn’t have health insurance, he suffered several heart attacks. My brother suffered an anxiety attack and we’re about a quarter of million dollars in debt with the hospital, because we don’t have health insurance,” he says. “That’s really the only reason.”
Searching For Stability
Across the room, Cynthia Loera is clutching the manila folder with her application.
“Yes and I’m going to mail it in,” she says.
Loera is fifty years old, and has a list of health concerns.
“I’m a diabetic now, I have high blood pressure, I have to have medication constantly, my eyes is going weaker, and if you’re a diabetic you just don’t know how your health is so it’s general up and down health problems.”
Loera, who’s fifty years old and on a fixed income, is hopeful there will be a plan among the 47 available in North Texas that she can afford for her husband and herself. The average premium for the lowest cost silver plan in North Texas is $287, bronze is $211. Still, that doesn’t include out of pocket costs.
Both Loera and Veloz will have to wait a few weeks for their applications to be approved – since they mailed them in. Then they can see what federal subsidies are available and actually see prices. Today was just step one.