Californians disadvantaged by health problems and low incomes can start making plans to sign up for the Covered California health insurance exchange on October 1st during open enrollment, on an online portal. On Thursday, January 4, 2012, the federal Health and Human Services Department gave the golden state a conditional approval to run the exchange.
There is no only work left to do on making the universal heath coverage plan in the Affordable Care Act Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) and former federal legislator Mayor Bob Filner helped pass into law in 2010 succeed, employee by employee. As long as California continues to meet the federal regulatory and start up benchmarks.
"This is another significant step in California's long but determined march toward better health at an affordable price," the Covered California board chair said.
Active, and well timed, progress setting up the exchange that started off operations in January 2011 justified the approval by Secretary Sebelius.
Expanding the number of Californians covered by health insurance is just the first practical goal during a time 7.1 million people, or 18 percent the state's population, remain uninsured. Coverage has to be affordable and the quality of care stay steady, if not improve.
A second best insurance system is not acceptable in the state that was the first to take up President Obama's health reform enterprise. The main result the five member board appointed by Governor Brown is after is improving the health of all Californians.
Davis's plan to make spending a family's last dollar on health insurance an extinct practice is on schedule. The insurance rolls Filner asked to have cover all people in San Diego will not have spots that cost too much for enrollment to truly be a choice Obama promised everyone they are empowered to make.
Executive Director Peter Lee said, "California has been at the forefront of establishing a health benefit market place that will serve millions of Californians."
Coverage is set to begin on the 1st in 2014.
San Diego customers who use the portal to sign up can learn if they are eligible for a federal subsidy that can make insurance affordable. They can also explore other public insurance programs. A state call center was set up to help make enrollment easier.
There is 400,000 low income state residents who are not eligible for Medi-Cal coverage under current rules who will be able to transition to Medi-Cal and get full coverage once the exchange coverage starts in 2014.
The investment of federal and state dollars was made into an exchange that provides health coverage at a price that does not stop anyone from buying insurance. Depending on the amount of an income, that must add up to from 138 percent to 400 percent the federal poverty level, customers covered by insurance bought in the exchange can get a federal tax subsidy amount that makes the insurance affordable for the person or the family. The subsidy amount is on a sliding scale. The lower the income, the higher the amount. Those closest to the poverty line in San Diego can get a subsidy worth up to $12,840 dollars.
Three million one hundred thousand people in California will become eligible to get subsidized coverage.
As the federal mandate on insurance opportunity has made clear to Americans who live in any state, nothing can make a Californians plans to stay healthy fail before they can get their insurance footing.
Existing health conditions can not justify a price that makes the healthcare cost too high. And certainly can not be a reason a private insurer turns down the customer.
A newly hired product and marketing consultant who served California insurance customers at Blue Shield California was brought on board to make sure there is no slack as the exchange board begins a marketing campaign this year. No novice at statewide coverage, he told workers in the state they can count on insurance that stays affordable over the long term. The insurance exchange, he said, will "keep employer sponsored healthcare as affordable as possible."
Covered California is continuing work on making employers a partner in expanding quality healthcare coverage for employees and their families. The board will meet again on January 17th in Los Angeles.
Mayor Bob Filner can give the State of the City Address knowing the citizens in the city's workforce have a guarantee they can buy health insurance early during the mayor's term, before the next year's address is given.
This is an On The Watch Take.