Pardit Pri had health insurance until she decided to quit her job as a legal administrative assistant and stay home with her newborn son 20 months ago. She thought she'd have coverage by now. But it didn't work out that way.
"I knew that I wasn't going to be working for a while because I decided to stay home with my son, and I thought ... 'OK, fingers crossed. Nothing will happen during that time,' " she says, as she plays with her son in their Orange County, Calif., apartment.
In a call center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on Tuesday, all the workers wore the same T-shirt: "Keep Calm And Go Live."
They were ready and waiting to take calls from consumers who could buy health insurance on California's new insurance marketplace for the first time. So the T-shirts urged calm, but the mood was ecstatic and emotional among the architects and key backers who gathered to flip the switch on the Golden State's exchange.
Colorado's health care exchange opened as planned today, at 8 am Mountain time. Not long after that, the website started scrolling a message: "Due to overwhelming interest, we are temporarily suspending the creation of accounts, please continue to browse plans."
The state has been planning for this day since 2007, when leaders from both political parties in the state started talking about overhauling health care. It's one of just 16 states that chose to create its own health insurance exchange, rather than using one run by the federal government.
Even as the Affordable Care Act's new health exchanges open for business, polls show the public is still pretty confused about how they're supposed to work.
The latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in fact, found that two-thirds of those without insurance said they don't have enough information about the law to know how it will affect them.