Certified specialist helps a consumer apply to Covered California at a free enrollment fair at Pasadena City College. (David McNew/Getty Images)
At the same time that California was releasing its latest enrollment numbers under Obamacare on Wednesday morning, advocates, experts and government officials at all levels gathered in Washington, D.C. to talk about … the Affordable Care Act in California.
Certainly, the rollout of Obamacare in the state has not been without its challenges and yet — California has 12 percent of the nation’s population and nearly 25 percent of all sign-ups nationwide. In addition to the more than 800,000 people currently enrolled in California, another 877,000 Californians are likely to be eligible for Medi-Cal. That’s on top of another 652,000 people who transitioned to Medi-Cal from the Low Income Health Program (more on that in a minute). That’s well over 2 million people total.
Diana Dooley, secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency, wasn’t about to gloat. “California is certainly not ready to put up a mission-accomplished banner,” she noted. But there was a lot of respect for California — and a desire to learn — from those in the room at the briefing. Continue reading
Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News
In a push to cover immigrants excluded from the nation’s health reform law, a California state senator has proposed legislation that would offer health insurance for all Californians, including those living here illegally.
The bill, SB 1005, would extend state-funded Medi-Cal to low-income immigrants who, because they are in the country without permission, are now eligible only for emergency and pregnancy coverage. It would also create a marketplace similar to Covered California to offer insurance policies to higher income immigrants who lack legal status.
It’s not clear how much the new coverage would cost or how the state would fund it.
Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat who represents Long Beach and southeast Los Angeles, announced the proposed legislation at a press conference Friday. He said immigrants contribute to the California economy and deserve to have access to health insurance. Continue reading
Women knit as they attend a Senior Information & Resource Fair in South Gate, California September 10, 2013 . The event included a discussion of how the Affordable Care Act, also called ‘Obamacare’ will impact senior citizens and what insurance plans will be available to them. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
In five days, a key piece of the Affordable Care Act goes live in California — the state-run insurance marketplace Covered California. Yet, most Californians eligible to participate, are confused.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Thursday, finds three in four state residents eligible for government-subsidized private plans are either unaware they quality, or wrongly believe they don’t qualify.
This survey was taken just about a month ago.
KQED’s Mina Kim spoke to Mollyann Brodie, the Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research and Senior Vice President for Executive Operations at Kaiser Family Foundation, about the survey. Continue reading
Supporters demonstrate in favor of the Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling on the health care overhaul. (SEIU International: Flickr)
While Americans as a whole remain sharply divided over the Affordable Care Act, a majority of California voters — 54 percent — support the federal health care overhaul, a new Field Poll shows. Just over a third of Californians — 37 percent — oppose the law.
This strong support is not terribly surprising in a heavily Democratic state. In addition, more than one in five Californians is uninsured. Support for the health care overhaul is two-to-one among those without insurance or people who say they or a family member has gone without coverage in the last two years.
The Field Poll also dug into the nitty-gritty of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, specifically the Health Benefit Exchange, an online marketplace where people will be able to shop for health insurance. California was the first state to pass legislation to commence setting up an exchange. Starting next fall, people will begin enrolling for coverage that will begin January 1, 2014. Continue reading
One in ten California veterans lack health insurance. (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
Ten percent of California veterans don’t have health insurance or don’t use Veterans Affairs (V.A.) care. That’s just slightly below the 10.3 percent rate among veterans around the country.
That’s according to a report by the Urban Institute. Co-author Jennifer Haley says there are 108,000 uninsured vets in the state, second only to the number in Texas.
“In our study someone is uninsured if they don’t have any of the types of insurance coverage you’d think of for general population and they also don’t report using V.A. care,” says Haley.
Haley used data from the 2010 American Community Survey to look at the rates among non-elderly vets, ages 19-64. She says disproportionate numbers of the uninsured were also unemployed and unmarried. Continue reading
Libertarian Paul Ruffino, 55, has been looking for an insurance plan since leaving his previous job. Several insurance companies refuse to cover him because he has pre-existing conditions. (Photo: Sarah Varney)
Today marks the second anniversary of the federal health care law, and, unless you’ve been depriving yourself of news for the last several weeks, that same law will be front and center before the Supreme Court starting Monday. Here in California, uninsured Californians have a particular stake in the Court’s actions.
Madera County is a largely conservative and agricultural area where one in every three people lacks coverage. While many people say they want the Supreme Court to throw out the federal health law, I found that many there are struggling to reconcile their political views with the basic need for health insurance.
I started off in Oakhurst. Here, just a few miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park, is the Sweetwater Steakhouse, a local watering hole where no one is shy about their opinions of President Obama’s signature initiative, including people like Joe Stern. ”ObamaCare is absolutely horrible, horrible, horrible. It should struck down immediately.” Continue reading
By: Kamal Menghrajani
Because people who enroll in the pool have been uninsured, there is pent-up demand for health care, experts say. (D. Sharon Pruitt: Flickr)
Thousands of California’s sickest residents are already benefitting from the federal health care law. The Affordable Care Act says that people cannot be denied health insurance for a pre-existing condition. Until the law goes into full effect in 2014, the government has created a bridge program to help–the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP. But this high-risk insurance program is proving to be much more expensive than expected.
California is spending three times more than anticipated to insure the people who have enrolled in this program. Before the program launched in 2010, California projected that the program would cost about $12,000 a year for each member. But a year later the administrators of the program determined it was costing more than $37,000 per patient.
According to a report [PDF] from the White House, the cost of care for PCIP patients across the country is twice as much as originally projected. Continue reading
(Flickr: Adrian Clark)
Health Care Reform won’t be fully implemented for another two years, but the key here is “fully.” Some changes are already in effect.
The problem, as a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlighted, is a lot of Americans are confused about some of the most basic elements of the plan, even those things that are already in effect.
Health policy consultant Linda Bergthold set out to inform people under the amusing headline “Holiday Gifts from Health Reform” in the Huffington Post last week. There’s something for the old, the young, some of the uninsured and even small business owners.
1. If you are 65 or older — (and eligible for Medicare) — seniors who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans (that’s Part C or the managed care part of Medicare) may have seen their premiums reduced this year. Some may even have access to ZERO premium health plans. Seniors also now receive free preventive treatments and a rebate of $500 if their drug coverage hits the “donut hole” in 2011.
President Obama signs health care reform law. (Photo: White House)
Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece from Spike Dolomite Ward, a San Fernando Valley woman who ended up uninsured.
Her story sparked heated debate on the Times’ discussion board — 1,190 comments so far. It’s worth reading her entire essay, but I excerpt it here and include some of the more pointed reader comments at the end.
I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.
I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. …