As deadline for Covered California looms, health exchange working for woman with cancer

Californians who don't have health insurance have until the end of this month to sign up for Covered California a part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

One patient at UCSF's Mission Bay campus, now known as UCSF Health at Mission Bay, tells KTVU the program helped save her life.

"I just believed that if I exercised and worked out and took good care of myself that I could avoid illnesses," said Anita Haynes-Hiley. But the 54-year-old says that didn't turn out to be the case.

Two years ago, she was diagnosed with inoperable stage four uterine cancer which spread through much of her body.

"I was mortified. I thought my life was over. I didn't know what i was going to do," said Haynes-Hiley.

She had no insurance. She says she was working as a personal trainer and she couldn't afford it.

But Haynes-Hiley refused to give up hope She signed up for Covered Calfornia.
"I still have things to do. Life just can not be over yet," said Haynes-Hiley.

The single mom says she pays $200 a month for Anthem Blue Cross insurance which covers her and her 22 year old daughter.

She says getting insurance through Covered California made it possible to pay for her medical expenses...including radiation and chemotherapy...which she is still receiving.

Haynes-Hiley wrote a thank you letter to President Obama. She says she received two letters from him in return.

"I tell everybody Covered California saved my life," said Haynes-Hiley.

Harmeet Dhillon is Vice Chair of the California Republican Party and opposes Covered California.

"The co-pays are very high. If you had insurance before, you almost inevitably found your out of pocket cost going up under Covered California," said Dhillon.

She employs ten people in her law firm and says the plan is forcing her to pay for types of insurance for her employees that they don't need such as pediatric dental care.

"Having a better marketplace that had different options for people than to have a one size fits all type of approach that we have now with the government Covered California Plan.

As for Haynes-Hiley, she says Covered California is invaluable,

"There is no price for someone's life. Life is priceless and you don't know it's priceless until you almost lose it."

Haynes-Hiley says the treatments she's been receiving has shrunk many of her tumors.

The deadline for enrolling in Covered California is January 31st.