LOS ANGELES, CA — California was the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of the federal health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). ‘Covered California’ (www.CoveredCA.com) is an independent part of state government charged with creating a new health ins
urance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to health insurance; and to make the market work for California consumers. It operates under the leadership of a five-member board appointed by the Governor and Legislature.
‘Covered California’ has announced $37 million in grants to 48 lead organizations to conduct outreach and education programs on how, starting in 2014, Californians c
an access affordable health care coverage under the federal. The lead organizations will be supported by 226 subcontracting entities. “We are excited to build on our partnerships with organizations that have trusted relationships in diverse communities throughout the state,” said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California.
His organization is seeking to strengthen their efforts to make certain Californians are aware of and enrolled in the new health insurance options this fall for coverage beg
inning Jan. 1, 2014. The efforts will inform the public about the new benefits, educate them about available programs, and motivate consumers and small businesses to obtain health insurance. Outreach activities are expected to reach nearly 9 million individuals and over 200,000 small businesses in 58 counties, primarily focused on connecting with 5.3 million Californians needing individual insurance, including almost 3 million of whom may be eligible for premium financial assistance.
Covered California is deve
loping educational partnerships that anchor outreach and education programs in actual targeted communities where likely enrollees live, work, pray, shop, and play; and are therefore both economically and ethnically targeted: The state’s large Latino community is the focus of 37 outreach and education grants; with the next highest number of those in need of potential subsidies being Caucasians (24 grants); followed by Black and African Americans (32 grants); the Middle-Eastern community (11 grants). 20 grants outreach to Asian-Pacific Islander communities with targeted sub-contracts: Vietnamese (19); Chinese (18); Filipinos (18); Koreans (16); Hmong (11); Laotians (9); Japanese (8); and Cambodians (8). All
grant specifics are available online at www.hbex.ca.gov.
“We see an outpouring of interest from groups across the state who want to be part of increasing the number of Californians with health insurance, improve the quality of health care, reduce health care coverage costs and ensure California’s diverse population has fair and equal access to quality health coverage,” added Lee.
t did not receive a grant are encouraged to become part of Covered California’s Community Outreach Network by applying to become Assister Enrollment Entities under the Covered California Assisters Program; and will be trained, certified, and in many cases paid by Covered California to provide in-person enrollment assistance. Covered California’s board allocated $43 million of its federal funding to organizations that can reach all eligible Californians: $34 million for community outreach; $3 million for business outreach with the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP); and $6 million to support successful outreach and education strategies in 2014.
Covered California will help individuals compare and choose a health plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Federal financial subsidies will be available to help lower costs for people on a sliding scale. Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans, and will be eligible for federal tax credits.