SANTA ANA ( — As open enrollment for Obamacare started on Saturday, Covered California leaders continued their bus tour of spreading the word to educate people about how they can get health care.

Hundreds of residents turned out Saturday at the tour’s stop in Santa Ana, looking to enroll in Covered California.

Melinda Roth recently lost her job, and has about one month remaining on her health insurance before it expires. She was among the residents to attend the event.

“(The agent) basically looked at some of my private information and filled out the forms for me,” Roth said.

While the process of having the public enroll in healthcare has struggled on a national scale, California’s percentage of residents without healthcare has been cut in half over the past year, to 11%.

“Last year, California made history,” Covered California Exectuve Director Peter Lee said. “3.4 million Californians, that previously didn’t have insurance, have insurance today because of what we, as a state, did.”

A number of residents, including students, have not been successful in trying to obtain healthcare, however.

Full-time student Katia Alcala says that she has attempted to enroll in a healthcare plan for two years. However, since her parents make a combined $70,000, her monthly rate was pushed just out of reach of her budget, at $300 per month.

“It’s crazy, because an emergency can happen, something horrible can happen and you can’t go to the hospital because the fees are really, really high,” Alcala said.

Lee is taking part in the 21-day bus tour in hopes of assisting people with enrolling.

The challenge for Covered California is now to get the hundreds of thousands of residents to sign up before the deadline hits on February 15, 2015.


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