Individual Market

COVID-19 and the ACA’s 10th Anniversary

On March 23, 2020, we mark the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Especially at this moment, we are grateful for the improvements in our health system that were sorely needed and now help at at time like this. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, California’s health system would be much less equipped to deal with the pandemic if the ACA had not been put in place. Prior to the implementation of the ACA: we had four million more uninsured Californians, and a uninsured rate of nearly 20%; we had more financially struggling hospitals and health providers, and we didn’t have the resulting surge in our health system capacity throughout the state; we had those who are […] Read More

California Before 10 Years of the ACA

Especially given all that is going on in our health system, it is time to stop re-litigating a health law signed ten years ago, especially one that has shown so much proven success. California is proof of how much our health system has transformed. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, California was the national poster child for the need for health care reform in 2010: SKY HIGH UNINSURED RATE: California had the highest number of uninsured of any state, and the 7th highest uninsured rate in the nation. If Southern California were its own state, it would have rivaled Texas for number one. Los Angeles could claim to be Ground Zero for the health care crisis in America. The Census […] Read More

To Counter #TrumpSabotage, CA Legislature Must Pass Ban on Junk Insurance

Yesterday, the Trump Administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a final rule to extend the use of short-term health insurance plans from the current three-month span to a full year, with renewals for up to three years. You can’t much call them “short-term” anymore. Following this announcement, California consumer advocates are urging the passage of legislation to ban such substandard insurance from being sold in our state. SB 910, by Senator Ed Hernandez, would prevent this new, giant loophole that would allow insurers to deny people for pre-existing conditions, arbitrarily cap coverage, and otherwise undermine our individual insurance markets. These limited plans also target and siphon off younger, healthier people, destabilizing the individual insurance market and spiking premiums […] Read More

As Trump Administration Seeks To Promote “Junk” Insurance, California Legislation Would Ban Such Substandard Coverage

On February 20, 2018 the Trump Administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to extend the use of so-called “short-term” health insurance plans from three months to a year, and otherwise promote the use of these substandard “junk” policies that would not follow Affordable Care Act consumer protections. Such “short-term” plans could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, do not have to cover essential health benefits, and can impose annual and lifetime limits on how much care they will cover. Health Access, and other health and consumer organizations urge the state Legislature to protect patients by passing SB 910, by Senator Ed Hernandez, to ban such “short-term” insurance. These short-term coverage plans are actually a […] Read More

Trump Executive Order Undermines Insurance Markets, But California Can Take Steps to Protect Coverage & Affordability

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order that threatens to undermine insurance markets around the country. It directs federal agencies to craft rules allowing broader use of Association Health Plans and short-term health insurance, creating large loopholes in the Affordable Care Act’s requirements around minimum benefits and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Consumer and health advocates are urging California policymakers to pass legislation to limit these substandard plans, protect coverage, and prevent premium spikes. This Executive Order is an audaciously destructive attempt to undermine insurance markets and consumer protections across the country. Creating these loopholes means that people will likely see increased premiums and limited choices, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, a group that Trump the Congressional leaders have repeatedly […] Read More

Highlights from Covered CA Board Meeting December 15, 2014

Today’s tight two-hour meeting featured a much anticipated presentation on benefit designs for 2016, an enrollment update, and a surprise announcement: that this meeting would be California Endowment Chief Executive Dr. Bob Ross’s last as a member of the Covered California Board. Dr. Ross’s’ valuable contributions to the Board’s discussions since he was appointed by former Senator Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) helped Covered CA get launched and moving in the right direction; Bob Ross has certainly made his mark on health care history in more ways than one, and will be missed. The Landscape for New Plans and Benefit Designs for 2016 It’s a new day, and while insurers can still make money, but no longer on the wrong things […] Read More

New Energy At Covered California’s Marketing/Outreach Advisory Group

With only two weeks to go until Covered California open enrollment, it’s no wonder it was standing room only at today’s Marketing, Outreach, and Enrollment Assistance Advisory Group (MOEA) meeting at Covered California headquarters. Chaired by Health Access’ own Anthony Wright, it has been restructured:instead of separate committees representing communities of color groupings (African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino), the communities of color groups are integrated with the larger advisory group, but they can also meet apart to generate community-specific input as needed. The discussion already feels more lively and productive under the new structure. Much of the meeting was spent digesting the lessons from year 1 of open enrollment. As noted in the meeting, Covered California staff have done a […] Read More

Capitol Weekly’s Health Care California Conference: Highlights for Advocates

Last Tuesday’s Health Care California conference gave us a chance to pause and reflect on ACA implementation efforts to date—and where we need to go as a state—before the fun begins again with the next open enrollment season in November. If there was a general sentiment across the panel presentations it was simply that California has done well to this point, having slashed the number of uninsured in half and probably slowed the growth in premium costs, also by about half; but now comes the harder part, including the work on reducing health care costs. Many suggested that if we don’t get a handle on costs, the gains of health reform could be erased, and additional agenda items could not be addressed, from tackling longstanding issues […] Read More

Legislative Special Session on Health Reform Starts Today…

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATEMonday, January 28, 2012 LEGISLATIVE SPECIAL SESSION STARTS TODAY TO CONTINUE IMPLEMENTATION OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT * Governor’s State of the State Cites and Recommits to California Leadership on the ACA * Special Session Bills Advance on Quicker Timeline, Enacted 90 Days After End of Session * Governor Seeks Bills on Insurance Market Rules; Medicaid Eligibility; and “Bridge” Plan * Also: Covered California Releases Outreach and Education Grant Application Request Be a Member of Health Access, To Help CA Seize The Opportunities In Health Reform Read Our Health Access Blog for More Updates; Also Follow Us on Facebook! Read Real-Time Updates on Legislation on Twitter @HealthAccess! Today starts a special session of the California Legislature, called by Governor Jerry […] Read More