San Diegans weighing health care options as Obamacare begins

Covered California website launched

SAN DIEGO - The state's website to help Californians navigate the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, stalled Tuesday as millions tried to get a first look at the new online health insurance marketplace.

By 3 p.m. Tuesday, the new website had so many page hits that Covered California decided to take the site offline from 9 p.m. Tuesday until early Wednesday morning to optimize performance.

-- Affordable Care Act information: http://bit.ly/15Zg21g
-- Covered California website: http://bit.ly/19g1FIu

Earlier Tuesday, state health care and San Diego leaders used Veterans Park in Ocean Beach to announce the Covered California launch.

The exchange will help San Diegans determine how much they'll have to pay for insurance on a sliding scale basis and who's eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal.

Representatives said it's being called the biggest change in health care since Medicare was established in 1965. It's an opportunity for individuals, families and small businesses to get affordable health care.

"The affordability of health care for all Americans is in national crisis. Obamacare doesn't solve that problem, certainly it doesn't immediately," said Bob Ross, M.D., with Covered California. "What it does do, is for people in the individual insurance market, who have to go out on their own, and get an individual insurance plan, the healthcare exchange, lowers their rate to more of a comparable group rate."

Ross added that it's going to take some thought and some research and some investment of time, energy and effort. He said it's a matter of setting your priorities.

He offered this example: For a man who's 25 years old and making $22,000 a year, he can get coverage for less than $100 a month, which Ross explains is probably how much they spend on Starbucks every month.

Craig Gussin, a certified health care reform specialist, told 10News that the biggest questions he's getting from his clients are "Can I see my doctor? What's the deductible? How big is my plan changing and can I keep my plan if I like it?"

But his message to San Diegans is do your homework.

"Let's just wait, take a breath, let's look over the next 30 days and see what's going to happen," Gussin added from his office near University Town Center. "I don't know what I am going to do for myself and my office come January; I'm still waiting to see. So until I know, I can't recommend to my client what to do."

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