Local insurance seekers met with locked doors, busy signals

LAKESIDE, Calif. - On deadline day for enrollment under Obamacare, 10News uncovered several problems that prevented San Diegans from getting last-minute help and enrolling.

Frustrations were supposed to be eased with local enrollment events – eight in all – from Oceanside to San Ysidro. All were listed on the Covered California website.

10News decided to check out one of them at the Lakeside Community Center, where a news crew was met by a locked door.

Soon after, the door opened. 10News reporter Michael Chen asked, “Is there a health care enrollment event here today?”

The woman who answered the door replied, “No, there isn’t.”

10News went next door to the nonprofit Neighborhood Healthcare, the supposed sponsors of the event, but no luck there.

Art Vasquez, 62, and his girlfriend were looking for the same event.

“I’m confused. Where is the event?” asked Vasquez. “I'm a diabetic person with no insulin. I really need some help.”

The retired Vasquez, who has no insurance, admits he procrastinated and is desperate for help.

Vasquez is not the only who did not get the help they were expecting. Of the eight scheduled events, 10News confirmed none of the events were ever actually scheduled.

The frustration did not end there. 10News called the Covered California toll-free hotline all day every hour and never got through.        

What about the Covered California website? If you begin the application by midnight, you're OK if you complete it by April 15. After pushing the apply button and getting no response, the webpage did start responding a minute later.

Vasquez tried to apply Monday morning.

“It started and then it said ‘processing information’ and this arrow is going around in circles,” he said.

As of 2 a.m., Monday, some 2.3 million people had signed up through Covered California, including more than a million likely eligible for Medi-Cal.

If you miss the deadline, you will be fined $95 or 1 percent of your taxable income above the $10,150 threshold, whichever is higher.

A representative for Covered California said they will look into the issues 10News brought up. They did not get back to us, but on Monday afternoon, they removed the events from the website.

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