I have finished my intensive, two and a half day training, and start work tomorrow, on a project that will take the next several months. I am now a Covered California Certified Educator. Hurrah!
Just to define terms, Covered California is the health insurance exchange set up by the state of California to fulfill the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Unlike some other states *cough Louisiana cough*, they chose to wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to make getting health care as easy as possible. Unlike some other states *cough Texas cough*, they are not trying to torpedo the Act with one hand and get money from it with the other.
I am one of many Certified Educators. Our job is to let people know what their options are — indeed that, in spite of what some critics say, they have options, and can get financial help if they need it. It is our job to tell them that no, the mom-and-pop bodega that they work at and that does not currently offer them insurance will not be penalized heavily under the new law, that anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant of the provisions of the law or deliberately lying. (Just to make clear, businesses with fewer than fifty employees will not be penalized if they do not offer employees health coverage, and some smaller businesses may be eligible for tax credits if they do.) It is our job to route them to an Enrollment Specialist, who can help them actually sign up, or to the website (coveredca.com) where they can handle it themselves. (If you leave the “ed” out of that URL, you get routed to the website or a private insurance agency in San Diego. I hope to hell that that site predates the creation of Covered California. I would not go so far as to say that if it doesn’t it would be a scam (and those have been coming out of the woodwork), but it would be despicable to prey on the confusion of people seeking less expensive insurance through the exchanges.)
This is good work. It is good work because it pays me to do something I would find meaningful even if I were doing it for free.
I have talked before about my need to have meaning in my life. While I worry about financial security, I worry more about the fact that within twenty-five years I will be dead, and that I need to leave something behind me, even if that is only a young adult who is healthy because his folks got the insurance which provided for doctor visits, which caught the cancer while it was still early.
I do not need to be famous. (Although, I am not going to lie, I’m sure I would not be unhappy with that.) I would like to be known, admittedly, but more important is that I know myself that I am helping people get through this world in better shape. I need to make a difference.
I struggle with this because I have always suffered from the “I’ve done nothing of importance” virus, even as some of my classmates have gone on to astounding careers. (That’s a sad side effect of attending elite institutions, along with heavy student loan debt.) I need to change the world for the better — and in some small way I will be doing just that.
I am looking forward to the next several months.