Basically, he says, getting insured just makes sense. “We’re all better off with the security of a good health-insurance plan.”
Also, not to put too fine a point on it, a law is a law. Car insurance is mandatory. And now so is this. If you don’t want to be docked that $219 exemption from your next tax return, you have to sign up. In order to be enrolled by December 31, people should purchase plans by November 15. Powers points out that “With most plans, the effective date is the first of the following month. So if you sign up by the 15th of November, we can guarantee your coverage will be effective the first of December, which would keep you in compliance with the law. If it’s after that date, chances are your coverage won’t be effective until the first of January.”
Despite suspecting ulterior motives, despite bristling at being told what to do and what to pay by a faceless bureaucracy, Harrison, the pierced bike messenger with a faded black X scrawled in marker on the back of his hand, does recognize the importance of insurance.
He got doored riding his bike in March. He wasn’t hurt too bad, he says, but “even though I was, like, ‘No, I don’t need an ambulance, I’m fine,’ they called an ambulance. That’s, what, like $500? $700? That’s a lot to pay for a ride. I can’t afford that out of pocket! But I’m still getting calls [from collection agencies]. I can’t pay it, so I just let it slide and slide and slide. I’ve already had it go to collection. There’s just nothing I can do about it.”
So, despite not being familiar with the Commonwealth Care program, despite — not because of — the fact that he’s being forced to, Harrison says he’s going to start shopping for an insurance plan. “I didn’t know much about it. But I’ll look into it now.”