Yahoo ranks all manner of searches in its annual Year in Review: Top Searched Handbags; Top Searched Celebrity Pregnancies.
But here at State of Health, we were much more interested in Yahoo’s Most Searched News Stories — and were thrilled to see that “obamacare (affordable care act)” came in second. That in and of itself wasn’t a huge surprise, because we know Obamacare is a big news story. But it’s who Obamacare beat that was startling: the Royal Baby.
Anthem Blue Cross had 1,591 people use Covered California to get subsidies and sign up for its health plans in October.
Valley Health Plan had five.
That data point’s taken from a Covered California release that offers some of the first insight into the makeup of early enrollees through the exchange and which plans they’re picking. And while it’s hardly fair to directly compare the two issuers — Anthem has a presence in all 19 of Covered California’s regions, whereas Valley is only offering plans in Santa Clara County — the contrast is eye-catching.
Search Covered California’s website, and you’ll find a list of 33 “frequently asked questions.”
The 33rd and final question — below questions like “Why should I buy health insurance?” and “I’m pregnant and do not have insurance. What health coverage is available for me?” — is this one: “Will patients be able to keep their same doctor when they purchase health insurance through Covered California?”
The question may be last on Covered California’s list, but it’s top-of-mind for many consumers. About one million Californians, and millions of other Americans, are losing their health plans through the individual market and turning to Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges to shop for replacement coverage. And in many cases, it’s still unclear if the family doctor will be coming with them
Barbara Neff of Santa Monica is one of the roughly 1 million Californians who recently got word that their health insurance coverage would be expiring soon. The canceled plans sparked a political firestorm as people realized President Barack Obama’s promise – “If you like your plan, you can keep it” — didn’t apply to everyone.
But Neff, a 46-year-old self-employed writer, isn’t outraged. She’s relieved. Even though she makes too much money to receive a subsidy to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the policy cancellation was good news for her.
Some Californians whose policies have been canceled are finding relief in a surprising place: from insurance companies that are leaving California.
Earlier this year, Cigna and Aetna both announced they would bow out of the state — effective Dec. 31. But right now, both companies are writing new policies, with the caveat that Aetna plans are available to Costco members only.
In a state considered crucial to the success of Obamacare, older people have enrolled in California’s new health insurance marketplace in large numbers as expected, but younger people also have showed up in force.
About 56 percent of Californians who signed up for coverage in October are over 45 and nearly 23 percent of the enrollees are between 18 and 34 years old, according to data released Thursday at the Covered California board meeting in Sacramento. The older enrollees make up a higher percentage than in the state’s total population, while the proportion of younger consumers more or less matches their makeup statewide.
The board overseeing California’s health insurance exchange has voted to stick with its current approach of phasing out by year’s end health insurance policies that do not meet current benefit requirements.
The Covered California Board of Directors voted 5-0 Thursday to hold steady on its current approach, defying President Barack Obama’s recent flip on one crucial aspect of the Affordable Care Act.
Several times each week, Sharon Wilson, a 53-year-old HIV-positive retired caregiver, takes an hour-long bus ride from her Berkeley home to her clinic in downtown Oakland. Wilson doesn’t mind making the trip, because she says the care she has received there since her diagnosis has saved her life.
Wilson says multiple chronic diseases, including HIV, have made it impossible for her to work. Ensuing financial struggles make managing her disease increasingly difficult.
California has mistakenly sent letters to 246,000 low-income residents, warning they may need to find new doctors next year under the state’s newly expanded Medicaid program.
The error frustrated counties and community health centers which have repeatedly assured patients they can keep their providers when the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014. The patients are part of the state’s “bridge to reform” program, which was designed to cover uninsured, poor Californians until they became eligible for Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal here.
President Obama announced Thursday morning that insurance companies now have the option to offer renewals to people whose plans were cancelled.
But that doesn’t mean insurance companies are required to take the president up on his offer.
Patrick Johnston, CEO of California Association of Health Plans, said in a statement that California “needs to stay the course and transition people into the more comprehensive policies that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”