by Chris Huckins Google+ Email 


Articles tagged with: California Health Exchange

15 July 2013

California's Health Exchange Begins Training Educators

Posted in Covered California

California's Health Exchange Begins Training Educators

    Summer school is here! That's what's written on the many calendars of organizations who will begin outreach and education for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, "Obamacare") this season. In May, dozens of organizations: unions, educational and government entities, and more received federal grant money to begin training in July by Covered California. Behold, Obamacare cynics: the school bus has arrived right on schedule.

    UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, who received over $1 million for outreach toward spanish-speaking residents, began training last Monday and continues Certified Educator schooling on their campus this week. What's a Certified Educator and where can one ride such a whimsical learning shuttle as seen above?

    Grantees committed to spreading the benefits of ACA will undergo 3 days of training to become Certified Educators. By this fall, over 2000 Certified Educators will know the ins and outs of healthcare reform to approach uninsured Californians and persuade them to get coverage: the goal of the Affordable Care Act. What other organizations applied for Certified Educator status? Anaheim Health Medical Center (AHMC) in San Gabriel received $500,000 to attract college students and families via health fairs to show off the new health law and its benefits. They will also be training Certified Educators this week.

    Covered California, the state's Exchange aka marketplace, will offer new plans starting October 1st with 10 essential health benefits and tax credits for those who qualify to lower the costs for health insurance. Catch up on class today by following our Covered California coverage here!

24 May 2013

Covered California Bans Health Insurance Hikes for Smokers

Posted in Covered California

Covered California Bans Health Insurance Hikes for Smokers

    Smokers have it rough according to a new study by a bunch of guys who called convenience stores in each state and asked the average price of cigarettes.

   For a single pack of Marlboro Reds in 2011, California was ranked #46 in most expensive at $5.19. Last year, through the same cold call analysis, the figure moved up as did California's rank to number #20 at $6.45 a pack.

   It's expected Los Angeles hipsters and chain-smoking celebrities may drive up the number even more in 2013 since the health insurance exchange, Covered California banned rate hikes for smokers interested in new health insurance plans.

Update: The cig tallymen revealed 2013's prices: a pack in California now costs $6.77, Rank #20.

    When Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) passed in 2010, insurers were permitted to charge smokers up to 50% more than non-smokers for monthly health insurance premiums at the state's discretion. The reason seemed just after a study by the Centers for Disease Control estimated smokers, who have increased risks in developing health problems, cost the country over $190 billion in healthcare costs and productivity losses (one too many smoke breaks).

    Fortunately smokers in California can breathe a sigh of relief (between puffs). Covered California banned charging smokers more and clarified only age, location, and income will affect an health insurance applicant's premium.

    Because time makes our body become more susceptible to disease and injury, age is one of a handful of factors which determines the cost for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

   In California, for example, an insurer can not charge an older adult of let's say 64-years-old more than 3 times what a 24-year-old pays for health insurance. Where you reside determines how much your premiums will cost, similar to how car insurance rates change by zipcode.

    Due to Covered California splitting the state into 19 regions, consumers will see a small difference in premium costs according to location. Los Angeles is broken into 2 regions and happens to have the lowest average premiums in the state for Covered California plans.

    Lastly income plays a huge role in how much health insurance costs. Covered California offers subsidies (tax credits) to qualified individuals and families who make between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level in order to lower the costs for health insurance. Click to calculate your subsidy. As you can see, there's no question about smoking status.

21 May 2013

10 Essential Health Benefits to Obamacare

Posted in Latest News

10 Essential Health Benefits to Obamacare

When buying a car, some benefits are essential:

  1. Steering wheel to control.
  2. Horn to honk.
  3. Auto Insurance to protect.
  4. You get the idea....

    Unfortunately, not everything we buy, like health insurance, comes with the essential coverage. That changes with Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), the landmark law that improves healthcare in America by requiring its plan have 10 essential benefits at the minimum. These plans will be offered by each state through Exchanges (marketplaces), where consumers can find affordable, quality healthcare and subsidies (tax credits) to help lower costs.

Healthcare reform plans will be available on October 1st, 2013. Read all about them here.

    This Thursday Covered California, our state's Exchange, will finally unveil these plans to the public. Until then, we have a sneak peak at what 10 Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) they'll require to have:

  1. Ambulatory patient services (Remember the woman in Michael Moore's Sicko whose insurance didn't cover her ambulance ride because she was unconscious and couldn't sign off the paperwork? No more of that.)
  2. Emergency Healthcare Services
  3. Hospitalization (Sadly, lawmakers had to point out this requirement isn't offered by health insurance plans already.)
  4. Maternity/Newborn Care.
  5. Mental Health/Substance Abuse Services/Behavioral Health Treatment
  6. Prescription Drugs.
  7. Rehabilitative/Habilitative (California recently passed a law that requires habilitative services be covered under the same terms and conditions as rehabilitative).
  8. Laboratory Services.
  9. Preventive/Wellness Services/Chronic Disease Management
  10. Pediatric Services/Oral/Vision Care.

    Everyone in California, especially Los Angeles, Fresno, and Riverside - where Covered California has already begun outreach and town hall meetings, should be on the look out for new details of Covered California's health insurance plans. If the opening of Covered California and all other Exchanges on October 1st, 2013 is the Superbowl of health insurance, this week's EHBs announcement is the start of draft season.

    For more information on Obamacare or to see if you quality for subsidies, call 818.251.5000! Click below for a free health insurance quote!

15 May 2013

Covered California Grant Awards Announced

Posted in Covered California

Covered California Grant Awards Announced

    May I have the envelope please! And the winners for the Covered California grant  for education and outreach totaling $43 million are the following: Well to be honest, the list is too long to post here but includes 48 organizations in California with backgrounds in education and outreach programs to deliver healthcare reform messages this year. You can see the full list by visiting Covered California's website here.

    By October 1st, 2013, each state must operates its own Exchange. Covered California, our state's Exchange, will use a combination of public booths, canvassers called "Assisters" and "Navigators", and their website to enroll millions of Californians in quality, affordable healthcare as mandated by Obamacare (Affordable Care Act).

    Unknown by many (which is exactly the reason for funding so many education programs), if individuals or families purchase health insurance through the Exchange they may qualify for subsidies (tax credits) to knock off a percentage of the cost for health insurance. This discount is automatically applied to your health insurance premium when you purchase health insurance through the Exchange. But before that time comes, Californians must endure a summer of education and advertisement heralding the Exchanges and benefits of enrollment.

    While specific details as to how the 48 Grantees will spend $43 million have not been released, brief outlines are available to see how each Grantee will target key demographics who lack health insurance: Latinos, Pacific Islanders, African Americans, to name a few.  One Grantee who received $1 million in grants, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), outlined a strategy to target residents in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Alameda County by conducting after school programs, reaching out to English As a Second Language (ESL) adult classes, and promoting healthcare enrollment through town halls meetings.

    Of the 48 Grantees, 42 put Los Angeles on its radar for education. Over 28% (2.7 million) Los Angeles residents lack health insurance. Latinos, who are the largest benefactors of health insurance subsidies through Exchanges, are targeted by 37 outreach programs, 32 programs will eye African Americans, Caucasians will be reached out by 24, and 11 for Middle Easterners. Don't feel left out no matter what background you're from, Obamacare messages will be ringing in your ears soon enough!

    For more questions about healthcare reform or to see if you qualify for subsidies, call 818.251.5000. Just want a free quote? Click below!

27 April 2013

Obamacare Delays Hit California

Posted in Latest News

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!