Covered California stumbles into new year

Manuel Arriola, co-owner of an Oxnard insurance broker, spent three hours and 15 minutes on the phone this past Monday with customer service representatives for Covered California.

He needed to find out whether or not insurance applications he forwarded to the state’s Obamacare health exchange by the Dec. 23 deadline had been successfully processed, and that the insurance policies his clients signed up for through Covered California actually would take effect on Jan. 1, as promised.

“Things are going to be chaotic,” Arriola told the Ventura County Star.

Indeed, there is no telling how many of the 400,000 enrollees Covered California claims will show up at hospitals or doctors offices in the new year thinking they have health insurance only to find out that they are uncovered.

“I can’t look into the future and tell you that every single person who signed up will have a smooth process,” Roy Kennedy, a spokesman for Covered California, told the Star. “That is certainly the hope.”

Meanwhile, some 900,000 previously insured Californians were left without policies for 2014 when Covered California’s five-member board voted unanimously in November not to grant the one-year reprieve the Obama administration was willing to allow for insurance policies that do not provide all the benefits Obamacare requires (but that cost considerably less).

“We know this transition is difficult and some people will be hurt,” Susan Kennedy, a Covered California board member, told the Los Angeles Times. But there will be far more than “some” people hurt, said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, which has long supported Obamacare.

Half of those whose insurance policies were canceled because of the decision by Kennedy and her colleagues on the Covered California board are getting replacement policies, said Court, “that are little different from the ones canceled.”

Moreover, he said, canceled policyholders that sign up for approved policies under Covered California “are paying more, in some cases a lot more, for policies that are worth no more” than the policies they previously had.

‘Junk insurance’

Consumer Watchdog’s president dismisses the insinuation by officials at Covered California that the 900,000 policies canceled here in the Golden State were “junk insurance.”

“The fact is,” Court said, “canceled policies in California are, by and large, not junk.” Indeed, he noted, “physician and hospital networks under old policies are far broader than under the Covered California plans.”

So why did the Covered California board allow 900,000 insurance policies to be canceled as of New Year’s Day 2014, when the board could have extended the cancellation date to Jan. 1, 2015?

Board member Kennedy suggested the reason was because “delaying the transition wouldn’t solve a single problem.” But what she didn’t say is that Covered California desperately needs those 900,000 people to sign up for new policies through the state health exchange.

That’s because Covered California needs to increase its enrollment exponentially to avert a projected $78 million deficit for its 2015-16 budget, which begins this upcoming July 1. And according to the California State Auditor, “federal and state laws prohibit federal grants or the State’s General Fund to support ongoing operations.”

11 comments

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  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 2 January, 2014, 12:08

    Now the fun really begins.

    All those indigents in poor health got added to Medi-Cal yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of them – with an estimated 2 million new enrollees before it’s over. lol. No doubt many of them are in poor health and need extensive medical care. Those doctors offices that accept Medi-Cal patients are going to look like scenes out of Bangladesh. Standing room only. How long do you think general practitioners who make piddly reimbursements or even lose money on the capitated rates paid by the government are going to put up with that? lol. I have spoken to more than a couple general practitioners about the problems associated with treating Medi-Cal patients. Trust me, it’s not a lucrative business from an earnings or a medical malpractice risk point of view. And trust me. It isn’t a priority for most American doctors to model themselves after Dr. Albert Schweitzer. lol. Most want to make money to pay off their $400,000 student loans and live a decent life in return for all the hard work it took to obtain a medical license. lol. I suspect that many of the ‘escape clauses’ in the doctor-government contracts for the Medi-Cal population will get exercised during the 1st year of ObamaCare. lol.

    On the worry scale of 1 to 10 the cancelled insurance policies should be about an 8 for the Covered California and ObamaCare programs. Despite the overwhelming incompetence displayed up to this point the train hasn’t even left the tracks yet. Stay tuned.

    Reply this comment
  2. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 2 January, 2014, 12:47

    Oh, and it’s not only the poor who got enrolled into Medi-Cal.

    Since the government no longer applies an ‘asset test’ to new Medi-Cal applicants all those low-income Californians (making about $16,000 or less) are automatically enrolled in Medi-Cal and are not even eligible for the exchange subsidies! lol.

    So someone could theoretically own a $2M home and have hundreds of thousands in cash in treasuries or a passbook savings account bearing little interest accumulation and end up being a Medi-Cal patient getting free healthcare from the gov. lol. So that population will also get Medi-Cal.

    But some unsuspecting patients in that group better beware. For those 55-65 year old low-income seniors some states have implemented programs to seize their assets after they die to recover every dime that was spent on them while in the “free” government healthcare programs. lol. But those fat government subsidies (free money) paid to those who earn incomes high enough to qualify for the exchange are NOT subject to ‘asset recovery’. lol.

    So the democrats have implemented yet ANOTHER regressive tax that punishes poor people!!!

    Somebody needs to spread the word to the poor people that the democrats are NOT their friends!!! lol!!!!

    Reply this comment
  3. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 2 January, 2014, 16:32

    More than two million enrolled. Most website problems fixed. More and more examples of people getting better insurance coverage for less money or having family with pre-existing conditions covered for the first time. But, by all means, Republicans, keep on using Obamacare and Benghazi as your only issues. It’ll be about as successful as your government shutdown initiative. LOL.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 2 January, 2014, 16:55

      ObamaCare and Benghazi as the only issues? lol. Where have you been, my man??

      Patriot Act permanently extended under Obama, NDAA, Fast and Furious, massive bailouts for the Wall Street criminals (yes, on Obama’s watch), over $7T added to the nation debt in Obama’s 5 years, black U/E and poverty higher under Obama than under Bush, domestic drone programs, NSA’s massive collection of domestic phone and email data, police abuse off the charts, IRS audit scandal, James Clapper, Dir of Intelligence, lies like a dog before congress about the NSA collection of domestic data, keeps his job and his testimony privileges, etc, etc, etc,,,,

      So it’s not just about ObamaCare and Benghazi. It’s about a septic infection that has has invaded the nation from the top down.

      Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 2 January, 2014, 19:05

    Steve…let it go. He can talk to himself.

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 3 January, 2014, 00:29

    I still say lets try Obamacare out for 2-3 years, if it sucks eggs we can shut it down. Our HC system is pathetic, it cannot get any worse IMO.

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 3 January, 2014, 10:39

    Rexie.

    You sound frisky and healthy.

    How bout going out and helping a senior or two by doing their little errands, mowing their lawn, bring them a warm lunch etc. instead of moaning and groaning with your doomer Bro’s on CWD.

    You’ll feel much better about yourself!

    Reply this comment
  7. G-Dub
    G-Dub 3 January, 2014, 16:58

    Try and use your Obamacare while on vacation. You can but I hope they don’t keep you over night for observation. If they do, guess who picks up the tab? That’s right you, ya sucker. And try to use Obamacare over seas. You’ll get stuck with the whole bill.

    Reply this comment
  8. Queeg
    Queeg 3 January, 2014, 18:48

    Queeg and Teddy are fair and balamnced……be positive and fail not in 2014…,,the temptations to be a ugly troll are a heavy burden…you’ll rise above your demons….

    Reply this comment

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