CoveredCA Again Extends Enrollment Deadline, Giving Californians More Time to Sign-Up for Health Coverage

Covered California has announced an extension of the special enrollment deadline to the end of August. Due to the continued surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, Covered California will give consumers additional time to sign up for health coverage during this pandemic—especially for those who lost not just jobs, and income, but also employer-based health coverage. In March, Covered California responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by initially extending the special enrollment for any eligible uninsured individuals who needed health care coverage through June 30. The deadline was further extended to July 31, and now through August. During this time, Covered California reports that over 231,000 Californians have enrolled in health care coverage through the exchange—2.5 times more enrollments than during the same […] Read More

New Senate GOP COVID-19 Relief Package Falls Short for Californians

US Senate Republicans today announced a new COVID-19 relief package that will do little to actually help struggling Californians. Beyond the reduced unemployment benefits negatively impacting millions of Californians, the new proposal includes no new aid to state and local governments, likely forcing major cuts to education, health care, and other vital human services that are needed now more than ever. In contrast, the HEROES Act passed by the House of Representatives, includes $500 billion in aid for states, additional help for local governments, increased Medicaid matching funds, other funds supporting human services, and direct financial assistance to help consumers maintain their employer-based health care coverage. These elements are the only way to help Californians out of this economic and public […] Read More

Judge Denies Delay of Sutter Settlement, Shows Need for SB 977

Last week, a judge denied the delay of Sutter Health’s $575 million settlement with California Attorney General Becerra regarding unfair competition in Northern California. Health care consumers, employers, and all who pay premiums are glad that the judge denied this delay sought by Sutter Health. The current COVID-19 crisis only increases the urgency for Sutter to stop its anti-competitive practices that serve to inflate their prices, and otherwise abide by the $575 million settlement to which they previously committed. This settlement begins to attack the reason why inpatient rates are 70% higher in Northern California, and premiums are typically $3,000 more for coverage here than in Los Angeles. Now more than ever, Northern Californians need relief from the so-called Sutter […] Read More

California’s 154 Billionaires Saw Net Worth Jump 25.5% During COVID-19 Pandemic, Fuels Grassroots Actions for a More Equitable CA

At the same time that the California Legislature was debating billions of dollars of budget cuts to health and other vital services during a pandemic and an economic downturn, California’s 154 billionaires collectively saw their wealth increase by $175.4 billion or 25.5% during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and Health Access California. Another 11 Californians were newly minted billionaires during the same period. Coming on the heels of a new California state budget that has billions of cuts deferred, scheduled, and subject to triggers, unless needed federal aid comes through, the new data provides a powerful argument for health, education, and other […] Read More

As COVID-19 Crisis Continues, CoveredCA Extends Deadline to Sign-Up for Health Coverage

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Californians losing jobs or hours are also losing their health care coverage. To help ensure that Californians are covered, Covered California, our state-based marketplace, announced an extension of the open enrollment period by another month, through the end of July. This extension is for both CoveredCA and off-exchange plans. Over 6 million Californians have filed for unemployment during the pandemic, and Covered California has seen a surge in enrollment of over 175,000 people. Health coverage is crucial at all times, but in the middle of a global pandemic it’s essential to ensure the health and well-being of yourself and your family. Especially for those who have lost employer-based coverage, Californians should take advantage of the new state […] Read More

2020-21 State Budget Deal Protects Many Key Health and Health Human Services – But Tough Cuts Made, and More Loom without Revenues

Governor Newsom and the California legislative leaders have announced a state budget deal today that pulls back many of the cuts to vital health and human services proposed in the May Revise, keeping this coverage and care intact as the state works to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. While some significant cuts were made, this budget deal staves off the worst of the proposed health care cuts which would have denied coverage to tens of thousands of low-income seniors, and cut benefits and access to health providers for millions more on Medi-Cal. The budget deal does still rely heavily on federal aid, which is currently pending in Congress. Health care advocates continue to call on the Federal Government to step in with financial […] Read More

CA Legislature Passes a 2020-21 State Budget That Protects Most Health and Human Services Programs – For Now

Deal with Governor Still Being Negotiated–Federal Funds and New State Revenues and Taxes Needed to Stop Trigger Cuts Today the California State Senate and Assembly passed a budget preserving most funding for vital health and human services programs, which are even more important as our state works to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget passed by the California Legislature meets the constitutional deadline for passage, even as negotiations continue with Governor Newsom on a final budget. Those negotiations show signs that a deal to reject the worst of these health care cuts might be reached, but that would depend on new revenues, from federal funds or new state revenues. If the Governor adopts the Legislature’s version of the budget, it would rely on federal […] Read More

Health and Community Groups Condemn Trump HHS Rule to Allow Discrimination by Health Providers; Urge California Regulators to Double Down on State Patient Protections

On Friday, Health and community advocates condemned the Trump Administration new rule to undermine the enforcement of the civil rights provision (Section 1557) of the Affordable Care Act, designed to protect patients from discrimination in health care. This rule is cruel and callous attempt to spread confusion and embolden health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate against LGBTQ, and in particular transgender and nonbinary, patients, women in need of reproductive services, persons with limited English Proficiency (LEP) and persons with disabilities. The timing of this rule – released during a pandemic that disproportionately impacts LGBTQ people and people of color, during Pride month, and on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy –  is especially inhumane. Anticipating this ruling, […] Read More

Black Lives Matter

We at Health Access California share the grief and outrage of the murder of George Floyd. As we mourn not just Mr. Floyd, but also the many unwarranted deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement, we must advocate for a society that fully respects the humanity of Black people. Black Lives Matter. We cannot tolerate less. We urgently recommit to work with our allies in California and throughout the country to counter the structural racism and institutionalized white supremacy that runs throughout our society – from implicit bias to explicit exclusion. Each and every one of us has a hand in that work, which includes promoting health equity while holding the health care sector accountable on these issues. Our fight […] Read More

CA Senate Committee Largely Rejects Severe Health Care Cuts in Governor’s Budget

Yesterday California State Senate Budget Committee adopted their 2020-2021 budget proposal which largely rejects the severe health care cuts in Governor Newsom’s May Revise. The Senate’s budget plan keeps commitments in Medi-Cal that will ensure millions will continue to access coverage and benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for California’s seniors. The Senate proposal would reject cuts that would have denied coverage to tens of thousands of seniors. The Senate also rejected attempts to re-institute the “senior penalty,” estate recovery, and other eligibility changes. The proposal also includes the expansion of Medi-Cal to all seniors, regardless of immigration status, but delayed to an implementation date of January 1, 2022. It also preserves medically necessary benefits for millions of adults with […] Read More