New Report: Over One Million Californians Already Covered in New ACA Options

 OVER ONE MILLION MORE CALIFORNIANS

HAVE BEEN COVERED BY AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

IN THREE YEARS AFTER PASSAGE,  NEW REPORT FINDS

New Coverage Options and Benefits Now 285 Days Away. Open Enrollment Starts In Less Than 7 Months; Consumer Groups Urge Quick Action for CaliforniaTo Be Ready.

New Report “Counting the Benefits, Countdown to Coverage” Released Today:
Press Event in San Francisco Today; In Los Angeles and Fresno Tomorrow


 SACRAMENTO—A new three-year status report on the California impact and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reveals that over one million Californians are already covered through the new options, but the Governor and state policymakers need to move quickly to take full advantage of the new coverage and benefits coming in 2014.
The report, “Counting the Benefits, Countdown to Coverage,” describes California’s leadership role in implementing the law, but also suggests much more is needed to be done to be ready by 2014. Released right before the three-year anniversary of the law, the report is at www.health-access.org, the website of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition which authored the report.

The report details how over one million Californians have been able to get coverage due to new options under the Affordable Care Act, including:

  • Over 16,000 Californians who were denied for coverage by insurers due to their health status now have coverage through California‘s ACA-funded Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP).

  • Over 435,000 young California adults up to age 26 have coverage through their parent’s health plan, under the ACA and state conforming legislation.

  • Over 600,000 Californians in 53 counties have gotten new coverage through Low-Income Health Programs (LIHPs) − the most expansive early expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act in the country.

 Millions more California families also now benefit from new consumer protections, according to the report, and some of the ACA provisions provide direct financial assistance to Californiafamilies. Hundreds of thousands of seniors and small businesses in California are getting help with the cost of care. New rate oversight has allowed millions of patients and policyholders to get relief when paying premiums.
“In the past three years, over one million Californians have taken advantage of new coverage made available because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Millions have new consumer protections and new security that their coverage will be there for them when they need it. Millions more will benefit next year, but only if California continues on its path and takes full advantage of these new options, benefits, and consumer protections,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “We need to maximize these benefits for our health care system that desperately needs it, not stall and endanger our ability to do this right.”

The report details how Californiahas been a leader in implementing and improving the federal law, and lists the over 20 pieces of legislation to enact various parts of the Act. But the work that’s left to do is staggering. 

Also celebrating the news were top legislative leaders that are authoring key bills, including to expand and streamline Medi-Cal, and to reform the insurance markets so insurers no longer deny or discriminate on the basis of “pre-existing conditions.”

“I’m very proud of the work that Californiahas done to implement this historic legislation.  The fact that a million Californians are already covered under the initial provisions of the ACA shows how transformative health reform will be once it is fully implemented,” said Dr. Ed. Hernandez, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. ”While we still have work to do, I am confident that Californiawill continue to be a leader as full implementation rolls out in 2014.”

 “The Affordable Care Act gives Californiathe opportunity to provide health care coverage for millions of Californians to help them live healthy lives,” said Dr. Richard Pan, chair of the Assembly Health Committee. “But there is still a lot of work ahead.  As Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, my goal is to make access to quality, affordable health care a reality for every Californian.”

Health Access California helped host events around the state, including in Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to mark the 3-year anniversary of the law, but also to celebrate the major coverage expansions happening on January 1, 2014—less than 285 days away. The planned Medi-Cal expansion and the opening of Covered California would provide affordable coverage to millions more—but only if implementation is done right, consumer groups warned.

“My life was literally saved by the Affordable Care Act. After finding out I had stage 3 breast cancer while temporarily uninsured, I found out that I qualified for PCIP, an insurance program that covered adults with pre-existing conditions – a part of the law that had already gone into effect,” said Spike Dolomite Ward, of Reseda, CA

“We have much to celebrate, with the ACA bringing coverage and health-improving services to so many Californians even before the full implementation date in January 2014,” said Betsy Imholz, Special Projects Director for Consumers Union. “Yet, the ‘to do list’ is long. We have no time to spare to realize the promise of health reform. Key policy decisions, including on the Medi-Cal expansion, must be set into law now so that computer systems are ready, staff trained, and all systems ‘Go’ for enrollment this fall.”

“Thanks to the ACA, access to health coverage and basic services has increased for California’s communities of color” said Ellen Wu, executive director of California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “California still has a lot of work to do to be ready, especially to get the Medi-Cal expansion up and running for California’s diverse communities. We need the Governor to expand Medi-Cal as quickly and fully as possible.”

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Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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