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Got healthcare? Covered California extends deadline amid complaints, confusion

California "Obamacare" provider getting complaints
Anthem Blue Cross Public Relations Twitter Account

Are you one of the many people who thought you had health coverage this week, but now need to access those benefits and, despite being told to wait patiently for hours, still cannot?

Even as Covered California this weekend voted to extend the payment deadline to Jan. 15, many people say they’ve already paid and have no proof that they’re covered, so they are angry and taking to venting publicly.

The Anthem Blue Cross public relations account at Twitter is being hit with questions and complaints this week. A story from the LATimes states that a surge of applications in late December created "bottlenecks at government-run exchanges and insurers nationwide trying to implement the Affordable Care Act."

Further, the Times piece quotes an exchange spokeswoman Anne Gonzales:

"We did receive a flood of applications before the deadline, so we are working at top speed to process all those and get them through the pipeline. We understand people are waiting, and we are going as quickly as possible on our end."

From the PR account, is this exchange between user "Ivy B. ‏@MsIvyJade" and the AnthemPR_CA representative:

"I've waited on the phone for 2 hours each day since Monday where are your reps? #smh #nocustomerservice @AnthemPR_CA"

The typical response is:

"Please email me your name, birthdate, phone number & city of residence so we can assist."

More than 400,000 Californians have signed up for private health plans so far through the state exchange, according to the LATimes story, and of those, about 100,000 "enrolled in the final four days before the Dec. 23 deadline to have coverage in effect Jan. 1."

The author from a recent piece at the DailyKos, had a sad story to tell as well, about visiting the website and filling out an application and applying for insurance with Anthem Blue Cross back in November 2013. "I was supposed to receive a letter from Anthem Blue Cross telling me where and how to pay. Near the end of December 2013 I discovered that I had not received the letter."

After calling Anthem Blue Cross and finding out "they had no record of me," said the DailyKos writer, Anthem Blue Cross "put in a tracer to Covered CA"

From the LATimes story, it reports recently:

"Healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente said exchange enrollees can make medical appointments and get care even if they haven't yet received an invoice or paid their first premium. Anthem Blue Cross said its enrollees needing care can file a claim and get reimbursed later, subject to the terms of their policy."

In a previous Examiner story regarding testimony from the medical profession, a Neurologist at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta, Dr. Jeffrey English, M.D. testified before Congress:

"No one in America will argue that the healthcare system did not need reform. The ACA took a bureaucratic, top down approach and the unintended consequences will be devastating. This is fact. Simply having an insurance card that does not guarantee access to providers nor medications is useless."

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