California Healthline: Exchange Officials Field Readiness Queries

by David Gorn

The Assembly Committee on Health this week held a hearing to determine readiness of the Covered California health benefit exchange — just a week before open enrollment season starts.

Covered California begins enrolling Californians for health coverage Oct. 1. The enrollment period for subsidy-eligible Californians will last six months.  

“We don’t need everyone to sign up on Oct. 1 itself, but we do want people to be signing up between Oct. 1 and Mar. 31,” said Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), chair of Assembly Health. “It’s going to be a very important time for all of us, kicking off this tremendous opportunity for expansion of health care coverage in California.”

Dozens of stakeholders gathered in a Capitol Building hearing room Monday to discuss the daunting task of getting the health insurance message out to millions of Californians.

“What we’re going to hear today,” Pan said, “is what’s being done to get the word out, so people know about this opportunity.”

Covered California executive director Peter Lee said the exchange is counting on its collaboration with community groups to help inform a difficult-to-reach population.

“Many of you, as legislators, have been working for years in the political arena to get where we are today, to have health care be a right, not a privilege,” Lee said. “But now we are moving from the political arena to implementing the law of the land.

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