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Nearly 500,000 Californians Enrolled in Obamacare Plans, Federal Data Show

Federal officials reported Monday that 2.2 million people nationwide have selected a plan in the new health insurance marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 500,000 of them are Californians.

The numbers were released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which also reported demographics across age groups, gender and tier of plan chosen.

Many Spanish Speakers Left Behind in First Wave of Obamacare

Those who primarily speak Spanish are largely being left out of the first wave of coverage under Obamacare. Many missed the late December deadline for enrollment in plans beginning Jan. 1. People must sign up by March 31 or face a penalty.

In part, the lag in sign-ups among Spanish speakers reflects a digital − and a cultural − divide. Many are hesitant about handing over personal information to strangers over the Internet, advocates say. This group tends to be less educated, and have lower incomes and less access to technology than fluent English-speakers.

Check Your Blood Pressure, (Unwittingly) Sell Your Contact Information

Health insurance companies are on the prowl for more customers. There are still three months to go for people to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act, but insurers don’t want to rely solely on state or government websites to find them. Some are finding a path to Americans’ inboxes by partnering with companies that operate health-screening kiosks – those machines in supermarkets and drug stores where people check their blood pressure or weight.

Obamacare FAQ: Are You Eligible for a Subsidy?

I’ve Heard the Government Is Offering Subsidies to Buy Insurance. Tell Me More.

You may qualify for a subsidy — in the form of a tax credit — to help you pay for health insurance. Tax credits are available on a sliding scale, according to your income. More than 2 million Californians will qualify for a tax credit.

Obamacare FAQ: Do Immigrants Qualify?

I Am in the U.S. Legally, But I Do Not Have a Green Card. I Am Here under a Different Kind of Visa. What Does the Health Law Mean to Me?

U.S. law includes a wide variety of ways in which immigrants can be lawfully present, even if they are not green card holders.

The Affordable Care Act provides benefits to immigrants lawfully present under many different kinds of immigration status. You can check this list from the federal government to see if you qualify.

Obamacare FAQ: When Can You Buy or Switch Insurance?

Q: Our 24-year-old daughter is employed full-time and her employer offers health insurance. Does she have to enroll in one of their plans or can she stay on ours until her 26th birthday?

A: Young adults and college students will have more insurance options in the new health care landscape than just about any other group, including both the Covered California marketplace and Medi-Cal, depending on their income.

Obamacare FAQ: Determining Your Family Size

Q: I have been on the Covered California website and the calculator asks for family size, which I presume means the taxpayer plus number of dependents claimed on federal tax forms. If a consumer claims non-child family members (like aging parents) do they count as part of family size?

A: What’s a family? In our shifting social landscape, it could be a single-parent household, a domestic partnership, a same-sex marriage, an unwed cohabitating couple and more.

But when it comes to Obamacare, as Rich from Santa Ana notes, it’s all about taxes.