In my last column, I warned you that March 31 was your last chance to sign up for a health plan from Covered California or the private market if you wanted to get health coverage this year. So much for that.

Ask Emily is a biweekly column by Emily Bazar of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting, answering questions about the Affordable Care Act.

There’s only one month left in Obamacare’s inaugural open-enrollment period, which ends March 31, and Californians are still struggling with the website, including some of its basic functions.

Emily Bazar answers questions about Flexible Spending Accounts, Medi-Cal and tax credits.

Yes, Obamacare is a big and complicated undertaking but does it have to be this difficult?

Here’s what you can do if you get tripped up in the Medi-Cal application process.

This is a critical moment in the evolution of Obamacare. Tens of thousands of you already have enrolled in health plans that will kick in a few days from now, if they haven’t already.

Calling all procrastinators: There’s still time! Granted, I warned you in previous columns that Dec. 15 was the deadline to sign up for health insurance from Covered California or the open market if you want it to kick in Jan. 1. But things have changed. You now have until Dec. 23 to enroll for Jan. 1.

Health care columnist Emily Bazar of “Ask Emily” and Pauline Bartolone of CPR continue the Q&A conversation Monday evening at Sac State

Journalist Emily Bazar will answer Sacramento Bee readers’ questions about the Affordable Care Act in a live online chat Dec. 5 and at a Q&A session Dec. 9 at Sacramento State.

Let’s start with one important detail: All naturalized citizens and legal immigrants must have health insurance as of Jan. 1 or pay a tax penalty, unless they’re exempt.

About 130,000 Americans pick up and move every day, the Census Bureau estimates. And guess who are among the most mobile? We itchy Californians. What does that have to do with Obamacare? Quite a lot, actually.

Will deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, which are quite steep, be subsidized too? Or will the policy holder be responsible for bearing the cost?

Ask Emily is a biweekly column by Emily Bazar of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting, answering questions about the Affordable Care Act. Read them all at

This is a special extra edition of Ask Emily, a biweekly column by Emily Bazar, of the CHCF Center for Health Reporting, answering questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Will doctors and hospitals who accept health insurance from companies like Blue Shield accept insurance sold by the health insurance exchange?

Oct. 1 is a big day in the evolution of Obamacare. Not only can Californians start signing up for plans from the health insurance exchange, Covered California, but they can also start enrolling in the expanded Medi-Cal program, which debuts Jan. 1. This installment of Ask Emily describes the coming changes to Medi-Cal and explains whether you might qualify.

Q: I’m currently on Medicare but pay out of pocket for a Blue Cross supplement policy. Will insurance companies offer Medicare supplement policies and prescription drug policies on the new health insurance exchange?

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?

Q: My youngest child is 21 and graduated from college in May. My other daughter is 24 and is still a college student in Stockton. What are my options with them under the Affordable Care Act?

Q: If my family of six qualifies for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, do we have to sign up for that? Or can we still buy subsidized health care plans through Covered California? ... I have real concerns about the quality of care we would get on Medi-Cal. I'm hoping for a positive answer!

Q: I am a married, 62-year-old female unable to obtain health insurance. I am retired and financially comfortable and in general good health. My husband is on Medicare/Anthem Blue Cross supplemental, so he is taken care of. Who can I contact by phone to walk me through the process correctly?

Obamacare allows workers to leave "unaffordable" work-based health plans and seek less expensive options from the health insurance exchange. But it doesn't necessarily offer the same opportunity to workers' spouses and children. In this edition of Ask Emily, journalist Emily Bazar explains health reform's "kid glitch" and what it may mean for California families.

Many Californians dislike the health plans offered by their employers, saying they're too expensive or don't include the doctors they prefer. Will Obamacare help them in any way? In this installment of Ask Emily, journalist Emily Bazar explains their options under health reform.

Q: I'm a Medicare recipient. How are people like me affected by Obamacare?

Q: I had colon cancer and have had trouble buying health insurance ever since. Under Obamacare, will insurance companies still be allowed to refuse me because of my medical history?

Q: I've heard that some people won't be required to have health insurance under Obamacare. Is this true?

Q: I work at a family-owned restaurant and my boss has cut back my insurance coverage. I have to pay a lot more out of pocket on top of my monthly premium. Can I find a better deal on insurance under health reform?

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