Understanding the Affordable Care Act Series: Covered California is Healthcare Plan Marketplace

So you, or someone you know, needs to sign up for health insurance. Medi-Cal isn’t available to you; you’re not on an employer plan; and you need to sign up for insurance

For starts, here are the two most foremost things for you to know:

Number One – www.coveredca.com

Number Two – Read up. There’s a lot you need to know and the site has pretty clear and concise information.

By now, everyone has heard of all the problems people are having with healthcare.gov.

That website was set up for people go to in order to enroll for subsidized and cost-sharing insurance required by the Affordable Care Act. Many currently uninsured people have until March 31 to acquire health insurance or face a tax penalty, and the news has been filled with stories about crashes, downtimes, accusations and problems with the website.

While that may be interesting reading here in Northern California, the story of that website really isn’t about us. That’s because the problematic website cramming the news isn’t for Californians. We live in one 17 states that put together its own health exchange called Covered California.

Covered California is the marketplace that connects Californians to accessible health plans. Covered California where a family or individual may get financial assistance to make coverage more affordable and where people can compare and choose health plans that fit their needs and budget. By law, coverage can’t be dropped or denied even if someone has a pre-existing medical condition. The Covered California website provide tools for families and individuals to shop for health insurance.

For individuals and families, financial assistance is available on a sliding scale, with more support for those who earn less. Covered California helps determine if people qualify for these types of assistance programs.

The most important thing you can do is go the website at coveredca.com and study the different topics and sections. There is a lot to think about and big decision ahead. Even though the state put together the website to get people connected, you will be enrolling with a private insurance company.

It is recommended that you type in the www.coveredca.com web address directly into your address bar when you are online. Using a search engine can bring up a lot of sites that don’t actually give people the subsidy and cost sharing assistance that come through the Affordable Care Act.

Those who want to sign up for insurance under Covered California can also phone a “call center,” where state workers have been trained to assist people in understanding the plans and signing up. That toll free number is (800) 300-1506. Oh – and the website is www.coveredca.com.

Read more about the Affordable Care Act on anewscafe.com here.

John Truitt is a Covered California Community Educator. (John Truitt is also the executive director of Viva Downtown Redding.)

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