Covered CA struggles through second enrollment

Covered CA struggles through second enrollment

covered CA open enrollmentCovered California’s huge enrollment numbers boosted the national health care program, the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, during its first year. But the Covered CA health care exchange, the center of the system, has been sneezing through its crucial second open-enrollment period, which began on Nov. 15 and will end Feb. 15, 2015.

In a sign of how much of everyday life has been touched by the Affordable Care Act, a broad series of strains and stresses has emerged around Covered CA in recent months. To remain politically and financially sound, the exchange has grown increasingly concerned about posting robust enrollment and re-enrollment numbers.

And in sizing up its fortunes, attention has centered around everyone from immigrants to insurance agents, with some agents stiffed on payments. With dissatisfaction high among Californian customers — thanks in part to costs that can be hard to afford even with current subsidies in place — signup-boosting campaigns initiated by the exchange and its allies are poised to gear up.

Immigration hurdles

Sensing an opportunity for big new enrollments, exchange executives have begun to navigate the complex world of immigrants eligible for Covered CA. That landscape was remade overnight when President Obama announced his suite of executive decisions around the enforcement of immigration law. (Only 11 percent of Hispanics previously signed up for private policies through Obamacare.)

But concern and confusion have been widespread among immigrant families — some of which include members who are lawfully present and some who are not. As the Sacramento Business Journal reported, anyone who is an American citizen, or who is lawfully present in California, “is eligible for health insurance through Covered California,” regardless of whether “family members in their household reside here illegally. And some noncitizens or undocumented residents who are not eligible for Covered California may be eligible for limited coverage through Medi-Cal.”

In a statement, Covered CA executive director Peter Lee emphasized that applicants’ information “will not be shared with or used by any immigration agency to enforce immigration laws” — even if unlawfully present parents apply for their lawfully present children.

Polling badly

The public relations campaign for the state exchange has forged ahead despite stubborn problems at the polls, not only for Obamacare but for Covered CA itself. New polling by the Public Policy Institute of California revealed deep skepticism.

Respondents who said the exchange works well dropped 2 percentage points from May, while 39 percent said “it’s not working too well or not at all,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, 43 percent expressed an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.

Given those numbers — with the challenges of open enrollment far from over — Covered CA’s targeting of immigrants has reflected its added incentive to grow enrollment among those whose opinion of the exchange has not yet soured.

High stakes

Covered CA executives have admitted the stakes are high. On the one hand, the exchange’s success — relative to failed exchanges in Oregon and other states, and exchanges contributing relatively small enrollment numbers — has made Covered CA more of a linchpin than a mere poster child for Obamacare implementation.

Toby Douglas, director of the Department of Health Care Services, has touted California’s biggest-in-the-nation decrease in the percentage of uninsured, as CalWatchdog previously reported. And in a reminder of the centrality of expanded Medicaid coverage to the Affordable Care Act, Douglas emphasized the significance of Medi-Cal signups.

On the other hand, California has struggled ineffectually to overcome a massive Medi-Cal backlog. In the ordeal’s latest episode, tens of thousands of terminations of coverage — a consequence of the new requirement under Obamacare that Medi-Cal recipients renew coverage — have become the focal point of litigation brought by health care activists.

14 comments

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  1. Donkey
    Donkey 4 December, 2014, 21:24

    If Californians are lucky Obamacare will die a painful death so we will not have to endure another worthless RAGWUS bureaucracy. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 4 December, 2014, 22:39

    Donkey

    Realize 1/3 of Orange County had NO health insurance, a reputed wealth county, the OC.

    LA no figures reliable, for the county is a hopeless nightmare beyond rudimentary measurement.

    So you want your Seal Beach gated pad invaded by the desparate,uncaring local Huns?

    You better pray the ACA Ragwus spare you!

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 5 December, 2014, 07:12

      Ahaul you are an ignorant statist fool. Health insurance does not translate into healthy medical care it only drives up the cost of getting care. The unwashed masses you have so endeared yourself to are able to get most any drug from their local pharmacy in Mexico without having to buy insurance or see a doctor.
      With the internet most any ailment can be diagnosed online without having to buy insurance or pay for a doctor. Obamacare was a step backwards. Americans would be far better off making their own medical decisions and given free reign to do so. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 5 December, 2014, 08:59

    Donkey…

    Remember when you go to that Long Beach Hosiptal the little people will be poking your chubby wrinkled body with blunted needles for being so sour and mean spirited to Uly, the champion of the unrepresented.

    Reply this comment
  4. T Mind of Ted Your God
    T Mind of Ted Your God 5 December, 2014, 09:35

    Chubby? She’s chubby?

    AAAAAnyway— Obama Care rocks—-it’s here to stay girls——-just like my very modest pension!

    Oh my!

    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 5 December, 2014, 09:58

    Responses from two of the lowest IQ low brows on Earth. RAGWUS trough feeders that are only looking to steal from the taxpayers.
    Obamacare is a sack of rocks my little parrot, and it will have a short life span, 2015 will be the turning point for his debacle. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. RT
    RT 5 December, 2014, 13:00

    Just wait until the federal subsidies run out and all Californians have to pay the real cost for their health insurance.

    Here is something that needs to be understood, no matter how badly California does something, the public will not demand change.

    One last thing having County Government (Welfare Departments) be a major player in this on helps increase the problems. County Welfare Departments are not pro-customer service.

    Reply this comment
    • BIG Bobbie
      BIG Bobbie 5 December, 2014, 18:50

      RT,

      You are so right about what will happen when the federal subsidies run out and all Californians have to pay the real cost for their health insurance.

      And you are also right that County Welfare Departments being a player in this on helps increase the problems. I should know I work at a County Welfare Department and it is a mess and no, we are not “pro-customer service”.

      Reply this comment
  7. ConejoRed
    ConejoRed 5 December, 2014, 13:07

    If Donkey et.al. are done wasting time – this is a serious matter. The Covered California site has been a complete debacle in my case. To say it has “glitches” would be an understatement. As it is, if we cannot undo the disaster it has created, we will be uninsured for the first time in our adult lives, thanks to the “glitches” in the system. Thanks so much for the opportunity to have NO INSURANCE thanks to the Covered California website. Who can I sue if we get sick between the time our current policy expires (cancelled by Cigna) and before this gets straightened out?

    Reply this comment
  8. skep41
    skep41 5 December, 2014, 17:45

    “…applicants’ information will not be shared with or used by any immigration agency to enforce immigration laws…”
    Because there aren’t any immigration laws or any agency enforcing them. Our Dear Leader has canceled our borders.

    Reply this comment
  9. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 December, 2014, 09:02

    It’s a money numbers game For doomers.

    For human beings webbed in this twisted bureaucracy in California it is frustration and fear of survival.

    Calling Teddy, Uly and Saw troughers and feeders is unfair. We are fair and balanced pointing out the plight of the poor, the poorly public school educated who cannot find decent work, the infirmed with second class health care, the immigrant despised and taken advantaged of-

    Reply this comment

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