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Author Archives: WSS News

Covered California Begins Open Enrollment With Expanded Coverage And Lower Costs For Doctor Visits

LOS ANGELES, CA- Elaine Young spent 20 years teaching students with special needs in Los Angeles before she learned an important lesson — that her retirement benefits did not include health insurance.

“Because I worked six hours a day, my position was considered part time, and my 20 years was only equal to eight to 10 years full time,” Young, 62, recalled. While stunned by the revelation, Young was still determined to retire and put her health insurance issues “in God’s hands.”

Her prayers, she said, were answered last June when she enrolled in a health insurance plan through Covered California, the state agency that helps Californians get name-brand coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — commonly known as Obamacare.

“I absolutely love it. And I would highly recommend it to anyone who does not have health insurance,” Young said.

The fourth open-enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act is underway and continues through Jan. 31, 2017. Californians like Young who need health insurance will find new ways to shop for coverage and new ways to save.

It’s this kind of information that Covered California is spreading statewide during its third annual bus tour. The tour will wind its way from San Diego to northern California starting Nov. 12, stopping at 26 locations in 11 counties and 21 cities over eight days.

The message is clear, says Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “California has built a robust marketplace where insurers are competing for consumers and where there is financial help to buy top-quality insurance.”

More than 92 percent of consumers will have three or more health plans to choose from, and none will have fewer than two, Lee said. He called out Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire, Sacramento County and the Bay Area as having large African-

American populations who can benefit from increased coverage and services.

Young receives a subsidy that pays for all but $75 of the $500 monthly premium she would normally be charged.

“I didn’t lose any of my benefits,” said Young, whose coverage began in July after her school district-sponsored coverage expired in June. “There was no lapse in coverage. I’m still with Kaiser and I have my same doctor,” she said.

For 2017, most consumers can save up to $55 per urgent care visit and their copays for seeing their primary care doctor will also be lower.

And, for consumers selecting Silver, Gold or Platinum plans, most of their outpatient services like primary care and specialist visits, lab tests, X-rays and imaging are not subject to a deductible. Emergency room visits for these plans are now a flat fee.

Even consumers in Covered California’s most affordable Bronze plans are able to see their doctor or a specialist three times without having to meet their deductible.

These changes for 2017 can help consumers save thousands of dollars.

“We know health care is expensive, so we took steps to make sure consumers who do buy coverage get the care they need without having to first meet their full deductible,” Lee said.

Approximately 1.4 million people, about 2.5 percent whom are African American, now have coverage through Covered California. Meanwhile, tens of thousands more African-Americans in California remain uninsured, yet most are eligible for thousands of dollars in federal subsidies to help them pay their monthly premiums.

In Los Angeles, enrollment centers are located on the upper level of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and at Price Chapel AME Church on 4000 W. Slauson Ave. at Alviso Avenue. Visit CoveredCA.com to find more locations.

Options For Youth Received The Barona Band Of Mission Indians Educational Grant Award

VICTOR VALLEY, CA- Options for Youth (OFY) Victor Valley Region received the Barona Band of Mission Indians Educational Grant Award on November 1 at the Holiday Inn Victorville.  During the Senior Breakfast, Rebecca Tennison from the 21stDistrict presented Charles Pak, OFY Director of Instructional Operations, with the grant.

On behalf of the 21st Senate District, the late state Senator Sharon Runner nominated OFY shortly before her death.  It was the only school Runner’s office recommended for the award this year.  The $5,000 grant is given to help selected schools provide materials, including books and computers, and to promote the academic improvement of students statewide.

“Barona has sought after my recommendation for a deserving school in our district; consequently, we have numerous outstanding schools in need in our district,” Runner, R-Lancaster, said in an official letter to OFY. “However, OFY stood out above the many due to the dedication and commitment displayed by OFY leadership, faculty, and staff, as well as the undeniable challenges overcome by your amazing students.”

Runner said that she and her staff “worked diligently with local schools” this past spring semester to ensure high school seniors were informed of state and federal funds available to them through the Cash for College program.  “This is where we witnessed first-hand the genuine great works and remarkable results of OFY.”

Pak said, “OFY is very grateful for the late Senator Sharon Runner’s nomination for the grant.   We are also thankful for the continued support from loyal community members such as the Barona Band of Mission Indians. This generous grant will be used to help fund materials that promote academic improvement and that will benefit current and future students, including books and computers.”

City Organizations Praise Riverside County Sheriff for Body Cameras

Submitted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Riverside-San Bernardino Area Alumni Chapter

RIVERSIDE, CA- In the wake of the police shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014, as well as the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country, there has been a call to mandate the use of body-worn cameras to promote accountability and transparency in police civilian interactions. Their widespread use has the potential to be a win-win, helping protect the public against police misconduct, and at the same time helping protect police against false accusations of abuse.

We, the undersigned African American organizations praise the actions of the Riverside County Sheriff and County Board of Supervisors for securing and committing the resources necessary for additional Sheriff officers to wear a body camera. We now ask that a citizen review committee be established to help in the review of the policies that will govern the use of the cameras and the public availability of its footage. There is no doubt in our minds that working together, the implementation of these cameras will strengthen the trust between the African American community and law enforcement.

We further urge other law enforcement agencies throughout the Inland Empire to follow suit.