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Last day to sign up at Covered California: Do it, get it, use it

April 15, 2014|By Sara Lessley, guest blogger

I’m looking for my root. My what?

Apparently, I should “find my root” and envision “pushing it to the floor.” Or at least I think that’s what the soothing instructor is saying; in my confusion, I can’t really decipher the commands. It’s my first yoga class, ever.

I’m not big on exercise classes; I stumbled poorly through Beginner Boot Camp, and I was bounced out of Jane Fonda-style aerobics many years back — and it’s looking like Gentle Yoga and I aren’t communing.

But it’s meant to be. The signs are all around; it’s my duty — to me and my country. It’s deadline day for healthcare sign-ups here, and the smiling woman who is literally the face of Covered California on billboards all over town turns out to be, yes, an L.A.-based yoga teacher.

So, my unabashed reminder to those individuals who are wavering: get with the program.

April 15 is the last chance this year for most Californians to sign up for health insurance at Covered California (and it’s a generous extension from the overloaded March 31). As Times staff writer Chad Terhune wrote:

“Covered California said last week it had sent about 340,000 emails to households who had created an online account but never finished enrolling…. People who are already in the state’s computer system can finish signing up on their own online. Others who couldn’t get that far must apply through the state’s call center, local enrollment counselors, certified insurance agents, county workers or health plan employees.”

The healthier we all are, the lower the overall cost of American healthcare. Stay healthy, live more healthfully and we’ll reduce the need for pricey treatments down the road. What’s not to like about that?

As for me, well, fortunately I do have healthcare (and I benefitted from employer-based care even in the 1960s, thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s early HMO, which covered my Orange County family).

So here I am in novice yoga doing the “bunny” (think haunches and hopping; well, OK, the rest of the members of the class are ably performing a move that involves their hind — I mean back — legs leaving the mat. Seriously) and really, really wishing I’d joined a gym about a decade ago.

We all need to be invested in our collective health. And, while I’m poking fun at myself, it’s no joke:

Consider this anecdote from The Times the other day:

“Now 63, living alone, she counts every dollar, has no cellphone and commutes an hour in traffic so she can keep an affordable apartment in Laguna Woods.

“Having good health helped. [Barbara] Garnaus got by without medical insurance, relying on yearly exams at a free clinic. But that changed last year: Garnaus now needs treatment for cancer, and she bought insurance under Obamacare.

“Thousands of Californians like Garnaus are poised to reap significant benefits from the nation's healthcare overhaul: access to levels of service and treatment previously out of their reach, and government subsidies that bring down payments dramatically. Still, Garnaus is anxious about taking on even modest additional monthly costs.”

So, healthcare, health insurance: Do it, get it, use it.

I am now long past that “invincibility of youth” stage (“That leg is injured?” the yoga instructor murmurs sympathetically as I again fail to imitate a beginner move). For a few moments, I can sense the accomplishment that many achieve in true yoga participation.

For now, sadly, I excel only at the final exercise, which involves sprawling really still, limbs limp, hands unfolded, in a darkened room with quiet music all around.

That soothing-voice instructor is dabbing some herbal essence on my temples, and we’re sinking, sinking into the quiet abyss.

Wait, the pose is called what? The “corpse?” Oh.


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Sara Lessley is a freelance journalist and editing coach in Los Angeles.

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