Deadline Day & California’s 4 Year Progress

HEALTH ACCESS ALERT:

Monday, March 31, 2014

SURGE OF SIGN-UPS LEADING UP TO TODAY’S DEADLINE DAY TO ENROLL IN NEW COVERED CALIFORNIA HEALTH PLAN OPTIONS AND BENEFITS

*        Crucial outreach & enrollment activities happening today. Please urge friends & family to visit www.coveredca.com in California, or www.healthcare.gov nationally today!

*        Health Access Report on 4 Years of ACA in California shows over 3.5 million Californians already enrolled in mid-March, including: 1.1 million in Covered California; 2 million determined eligible in Medi-Cal, and 430,000 young adults on their parent’s plan.

       Report lists top 8 ways that California has gone above and beyond the Affordable Care Act; the two dozen pieces of state legislation that implemented and improved the law; the pending bills this year; and the 4 big things left to do.

*         Deadline today is real: Californians must start their application process for today, but will have grace period to finish selecting plan (if needed) through April 15th.

 

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Thousands of Californians are clicking and calling to get signed up for new Covered California options and benefits today, the last day of open enrollment. Today is the deadline to at least start an application at www.coveredca.com, although there is a grace period to finish selecting a plan by April 15th. Community enrollment counselors, county workers, brokers and agents, Covered California call center workers, and many others will be very busy today responding to the demand, which spiked in the last week and through the weekend.

It’s a critical day to reach out to friends, family, and others to make sure they are covered. Call or E-mail them to start their applications today, and join millions of others who recently signed up to get access to care, peace of mind, and the other benefits that come with coverage. By signing up today, they can avoid the health and economic consequences of being uninsured: living sicker, dying younger, and being one emergency away from financial ruin. Instead of a tax penalty, signing up could qualify them for tax credits that could be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, pegged so that no one pays more for a premium than a percentage of income. If folks don’t sign up today, those dollars stay in Washington, DC, rather than helping California’s struggling health system and economy.

By mid-March, Covered California reported that over 1.1 million Californians had selected a plan through their portal, with over 85% also qualifying for subsidies to afford coverage, so their premiums are not more than a percentage of their income. The enrollment is higher now, with tens of thousands joining in just the last few days. Last week, the Obama Administration announced that the national figure for sign-ups in the marketplaces (like Covered California) set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) totalled over 6 million. These figure don’t include other ACA expansions, including Medicaid.

NEW 4-YEAR REPORT SHOWS PROGRESS TO DATE: Due to California’s efforts to both implement and improve upon federal health reform in the four years since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California now leads the nation, providing new coverage options for over 3.5 million Californians: not just the over 1.1 million in Covered California products, but another 2 million in Medi-Cal, and 430,000 young adults on their parent’s plans. Millions more are getting new consumer protections and financial relief under the ACA as well. A new Health Access report details the impact of the Affordable Care Act in the last four years, both the positive expansions of coverage, but also those components where the Act was insufficient or more work at the state level is needed.

What is notable about the progress in California is the urgency of the health care crisis prior to the ACA. California had the seventh highest uninsured rate in the nation: Californians were more likely to be uninsured than residents of all but six states. Californians were more like not to get coverage at work, more likely to be not able to afford coverage, and more likely to be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions than in many other states. The severity of the health care crisis is a key reason California has “embraced” reform, as Governor Jerry Brown stated this month, and makes this record all the more compelling. Even though California is the only one of the states with the top ten highest uninsured rates with a Democratic Governor, it is an example for other states that are similarly situated in terms of health care need if not of like minds politically.

Even with the significant progress, much more work is needed to fully realize the promised of health reform, from providing world-class customer service; to offering additional help to fellow Californians that need it; to requiring strong oversight to ensure timely access and strong consumer protections when dealing with an insurer; to putting in place additional policies to reduce costs and increase quality, and encourage a healthier California.

The report tallies the impacts of the Affordable Care Act in California to date; details how California has taken a leadership role in implementing and improving the law; and also lays out the important next steps needed to be taken by state policymakers so Californians can take full advantage of their new rights, options, and benefits. This report serves as a “to do” list of state actions taken and those still awaiting action, with appendices that list ACA-related legislation that has passed and is pending.

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