by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 

 

Latest News

01 May 2013

Obamacare Application Shortened to 3 Pages!

Posted in Latest News

Obamacare Application Shortened to 3 Pages!

    The President seems pretty laid back about his law, Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), helping out his fellow Americans. The problem for him is only 40% approve Obamacare and a little over 42% have no idea the law still exists. No wonder Republicans and Congress still fight to repeal Obamacare; there are Americans who think they've already succeeded.

    This week's Kaiser Family Foundation's non-partisan poll showed less than half of Americans don't understand the law because it's too complicated. It's because of this very argument from healthcare experts and consumers that the Department of Health and Human Services debuted the new, user-friendly version of the Obamacare application today. The HHS apparently took criticism to heart last month, when the last draft of the Obamacare application took 45 minutes and 61 pages to complete and cut the application to just 3 pages today.

    Why did the application take so long to begin with? To be fair, the earlier draft was meant for critics to pick apart so the HHS could streamline the application for subsidies and Exchange plans when they roll out October 1st, 2013. Now the President whose law bears his name empathized with Americans today stating, "When the first draft of the application turned out to be a clunker, immediately, everybody sat around the table and said, 'Well, this is too long, especially...in this age of the Internet."'

    Americans will all have to familiarize themselves with the shortened Obamacare application this fall, when applying for the Exchanges and subsidies. Starting October 1st, 2013 every state must have its Exchange operational. California, the country's first state to organize its exchange since Obamacare's mandate, will have Covered California. Experts in the Exchanges, called Navigators and Assisters, will provide information to still-confused consumers who want affordable, quality healthcare plans.

    To break down the confusing process, the Exchange will act as a website where consumers can log in, complete their application digitally, and compare different plans categorized in tiers by price and coverage. When entering their income, social security, and personal information in a fashion similar to H&R Block's online tax returns, the consumer will know instantly whether he or she qualifies for subsidies (tax credits). The amount for the healthcare plan will then drop significantly before the consumer's eyes. What an age we live in!

    To hear more about healthcare reform, to find an affordable plan now, or to see if you qualify for subsidies call 818.251.5000 or click below for a free quote!

30 April 2013

Medi-Cal Outreach Begins In Los Angeles

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Medi-Cal Outreach Begins In Los Angeles

    Last Friday hundreds of non-profits in California sat on pins and needles waiting for a phone call. They applied for $30 million in federal grants to educate millions of Californians on Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and Friday was the date to hear if they were accepted or denied. When dialing Covered California, the organization with the funds, "Wait till next month." was the answer they got instead. Apparently more applicants than anticipated arrived in Covered California's inbox so the award announcement was changed to sometime mid-May. That didn't stop some organizations from educating early.

    Over the weekend OneLA, a Los Angeles non-profit, and the Los Angeles Department of Health Services took matters into their own hands and grouped together at churches, synagogues, and community centers to educate residents on Medi-Cal changes. Through Obamacare, Medi-Cal expands its coverage to individuals making up to $15,415 annually or 138% Federal Poverty Level.

     Despite the federal grant delays, OneLA won't be alone this summer. The Exchange, Covered California has $30 million to fund organizations with a history of effective outreach programs. Covered California's goal: to use outreach programs to educate and enroll as many Californians who qualify for affordable, quality health insurance through the Exchange. Those who qualify for Exchange insurance plans can also get subsidies (tax credits) to lower their health insurance costs.

     Obamacare passed in 2010 with goals to lower healthcare costs, cover more Americans, and provide a marketplace in each state called an Exchange. Massachusetts opened the country's first Exchange in 2006 - 4 years before Obamacare was a twinkle in the president's eye. California was the first state to organize its Exchange, Covered California since Obamacare announced the mandate.

    Starting October 1st, 2013, consumers will navigate the Exchange online, using Covered California's website to shop for health insurance plans. Until then, the Exchange outreach programs are expected to group Californians in town halls, schools, community centers, even Walmart to check who qualifies for Exchange plans and subsidies and prep everyone for the coming changes.

    For more information on health insurance plans, to see if you qualify for tax credits, or to answer any questions, please call 818.251.5000 or click below for a free quote!


   

27 April 2013

Obamacare Delays Hit California

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Obamacare Delays Hit California

    Covered California was stricken with 2 delays this week while I was stricken with a cold. Deciding on a model healthcare plan contract and releasing the names of organizations who will receive over $30 million of federal dollars to perform outreach and eduction on Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) never came through this week. On a lighter note, a huge milestone by Covered California: opening its first town hall meeting at the University of California, Riverside arrived on time yesterday and there wasn't an empty seat in sight!

    For those who haven't read up on Obamacare, the law mandates each state set up an Exchange by October 1st, 2013. Our exchange, Covered California, will operate as a website beginning October 31st, 2013. By then Californians will seek health insurance online, comparing plans represented as easy to understand levels of quality and cost: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, and Obamacare will be on course for 2014, when most of its regulations fully kick in.

    Earlier this year, hundreds of non-profit organizations across California completed lengthy applications to receive $30 million in federal grant money and assist in Covered California's success. These funds will primarily be used on marketing to uncover leads to enroll millions of Californians in affordable, quality healthcare offered by Covered California starting October 1st, 2013. The announcement awarding approved organizations to receive the grant was today. Until it was delayed. When asked by phone, Covered California responded, "We just received too many applications and it's gonna take longer." And the new announcement date? "Sometime mid-May".

    By avoiding bureaucratic details that would bore any Friday newsreader into a nap lasting into the weekend, I can assure you the delay on deciding a model healthcare plan contract won't upset too many. The decision will be announced mid-May.

     Until next time, when we share our experience at Covered California's first town hall meeting! Have a great weekend! To insure yourself before a great weekend click below for a free quote! 

24 April 2013

American Idol Visits Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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American Idol Visits Children's Hospital Los Angeles

    Kids who have it rough are in for a treat when their cute little faces debut on American Idol Wednesday evening (on FOX at 8pm PST).  Top 4 Finalists Candice Glover, Kree Harrison, Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller, whose careers will be followed by music aficionados for years to come, visited one of America's top pediatric centers, Children's Hospital Los Angeles this Monday and audiences get a behind the scenes glimpse tonight.

    According to promos leading up to tonight's event, the Top 4 entertained young patients with arts and crafts, most likely with a focus on music not limited to: recorder lessons, electric bass slapping, and xylophone glissandos - the holy trinity of childhood noise-making. As a fan of preschool instruments with colorful keys and buttons, I'm setting my DVR for this concert.

    On a regular basis, local artists and certified Expressive Arts Therapists stop by the hospital's Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program by providing art lessons with paints, clays, papers and crayons, and so much more for kids struggling to get healthy again. The Top 4 continued this outstanding outreach program by teaching dancing and music to the younglings. Whether or not some kids outdid the Top 4 and claimed their place in the competition has yet to be aired.

    Children's Hospital Los Angeles uplifts patients' spirits with the help of its Literary Healing Program, over 1000 books specially selected to provide a form of distraction during patient recovery. Each book may have a positive message or just plain silly characters to keep a kid smiling. Aiming to outdo each other and bring the most laughter and applause from youngsters, American Idol contestants tapped into their story-telling skill set, most likely narrating in sweeter-sounding voices than the staff.

    Each year Children's Hospital Los Angeles cares for over 97,000 children. Its nearly 16,000 surgeries performed annually are the most complex in Southern California. As a non-profit, academic care center, they provide over $125 million in community benefits for families and kids across Los Angeles on a yearly basis.

    Please click here to donate to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, an institution proudly providing for California's kids. For healthcare questions or to get children's health insurance for your family, call us at 818.251.5000 or click below!


24 April 2013

Private PR Firm Sells Obamacare

Posted in Latest News

Private PR Firm Sells Obamacare

    While opening Obamacare Exchanges isn't as thrilling as a blockbuster movie opening in Los Angeles, the budget to market each would still cost the same. While Superman and Hunger Games sequels steal our attention during peak movie season this summer, the Department Health and Human Services will rely on private PR firm Weber Shandwick, who advertised Coca-Cola, Cigna, and Microsoft, to sell us on Obamacare.

    Already Obamacare has fronted nearly $30 million to advertise California residents its Exchange: Covered California. With the most uninsured residents in the United States, California will conducts its outreach program to educate the public on state-run exchange as Obamacare outreach begins this summer across the country.

    Obamacare is the law that kicks off most of its most promising healthcare reform provisions on January 1st, 2014. But what few Americans realize is everyone can shop for health insurance plans on October 1st, 2013. What fewer realize is subsidies (tax credits) will be available for qualified individuals and families who purchase health insurance in the Exchange, lowering the cost of coverage. With these dates sneaking up and incentives detailed for anyone to find online, why haven’t more people heard of them or written them on their calendars?

    PR firms and the government alike will battle toe to toe against the onslaught of confused, hesitant, or sometimes plain ignorant Americans who’ve heard too much GOP hate on Obamacare or not enough truth to healthcare reform. More updates on the war to educate to come shortly. In the meantime, before watching the new Man of Steel trailer, catch up with health care reform by calling 818.251.5000 for any questions you have or quotes you’re curious about! Or click below for a free instant quote!