Utahns delve into new health care options available by the Affordable Care Act
But she is going to spread what she's learned to others who might benefit.
"I am going to pass this information onto my children and other families that are in transition. I don't think everyone knows what they can do," Walker said. "I think I'm glad for (the Affordable Care Act). It may have a few bugs, but I think it will be beneficial in the long run."
Speaking of bugs, the site was overwhelmed at times on Tuesday, the first day it has been available to accept applications. Many applying throughout Utah had trouble getting through the first few qualifying questions, but Stevenson said those glitches should be ironed out in time.
Enrollment is open until March 31, but to begin coverage by Jan. 1, applications must be received by Dec. 15.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker on Tuesday cautioned consumers, however, about the rising potential for hackers and fraudsters to obtain personal information from vulnerable applicants.
"It is easy to get diverted and I found this out the hard way," he said. Becker has spent the last three days helping his two previously uninsured adult sons gather information and apply for coverage and said that using the federal website is relatively easy and takes a short period of time.
He said one in four Salt Lake City residents is uninsured.
"Some are in their 20s and seemingly invincible and others are older. But without health insurance, both groups are at risk," Becker said. A medical mishap, he said, could be both physically and financially debilitating.
Alexis Anderson is still reeling from medical bills she received following a car accident years ago. The 24-year-old Western Governor's University student works two part-time jobs and makes less than $40,000 a year.
She's still not sure she can afford health insurance but values it as a priority in her life.
"It's a good thing they're making it more accessible," Anderson said, adding that she's going to do whatever she can to make it work. "It's important for anyone to have it."
Becker said health insurance is "critical protection that could help keep many families who may already be on the brink, from having their lives destroyed by an unexpected medical emergency."
In the next few months, more features are expected to be rolled out on the federal insurance marketplace.
Starting in November, families will be able to sign up for Utah's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs on the marketplace. Various outreach and educational efforts are also ongoing and put on by various nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations, including a virtual tour of the federal marketplace website at the Salt Lake City Main Library next Wednesday.
Resources are also available for non-English speakers and is disseminated through various community groups, school districts and between neighbors.
"Getting more Utahns covered is a journey, not a destination," said Karen Crompton, president and CEO of Voices for Utah Children. "There is plenty of time. No one needs to make a decision today. Today is just the beginning."
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