Public Option


Health Insurance Public Option Alive and Well in California

By Sarah Varney

(Joe Raedle: Getty Images)

(Joe Raedle: Getty Images)

In a cavernous room just east of San Francisco, an army of phone operators fields calls from their customers. A large computer screen blinks the number of people on hold: two, and the average wait time: one minute, 12 seconds.

These phone operators working in a non-descript office park in Alameda are employed by a large health insurance plan, and they’re willing to go the extra mile for their customers. They’ll schedule a doctor to come to your home, a pharmacist to drop off a prescription, and they’ll even help you fill out an application for food stamps.

“We do things for them that a traditional, commercial health plan doesn’t do,” says Ingrid Lamirault, chief executive officer of the Alameda Alliance for Health, a county-run, not-for-profit insurer. Continue reading