LGBT

California Legislature Passes Their 2021 – 2022 Budget with Steps Towards A More Universal Health Care System. Deal On Final Budget Must Still Be Reached With Governor Newsom.

Yesterday, the California State Assembly and State Senate voted to pass a 2021-2022 state budget that includes funding for a more universal, equitable, and affordable, health care system. While the Legislature is in agreement on this version of the budget, negotiations continue with Governor Newsom on a final deal. On June 1, the state legislature announced a joint budget proposal that aligned on a number of key health care proposals, which is what was passed today. It includes historic investments in our health system, including a plan for the first-in-the-nation end to the exclusion of income-eligible undocumented adults age 50 and over in Medi-Cal. The Governor’s May Revision included a proposal to end this exclusion for those 60 and over. […] Read More

Twenty Takeaways from 2020

Protecting Our Progress and Confronting the Challenges of COVID-19 Like most Californians, we had high hopes for progress in 2020. The year began in earnest with the implementation of expanded access and affordability to coverage for hundreds of thousands of Californians, and ambitious plans to increase health industry oversight to control costs, improve quality and equity, and win key patient protections. When the pandemic hit in March, Health Access doubled-down on our commitment to protect California consumers, adapting quickly to the many changes in our health system and in response to COVID-19. This meant pausing some of our larger-scale efforts in the short-term in order to fight for consumer protections and access to care during a pandemic-induced economic downturn and […] Read More

Despite Pandemic, Progress Continued on Health Care, Coverage, and Costs in California; Advocates Urge Governor Newsom Sign Key Access and Accountability Bills

The California Legislature ended a 2020 session marked by significant changes due to the COVID-19 crisis. While several high-profile health policy initiatives stalled in light of the pandemic and the economic emergency that caused a state budget deficit, the legislative year ended with key advances on health policy for California consumers. Despite the pandemic, progress was made on improving California health coverage, care, and costs during this COVID-19 impacted legislative session. Admittedly, we were disappointed that solutions stalled on surprise medical bills and health care consolidation, which are both major drivers of higher health costs, the Legislature passed several other health policy highlights. Patient advocates urge Governor Newsom to sign the bills on his desk to help Californian consumers, including […] 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

Crosspost: Why I’m speaking out on the pending Catholic Hospital Mergers

This week on the Health Access blog, we are cross-posting an important and personal story from our colleague Dannie Ceseña, Program Coordinator for the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network (a project of Health Access). For over 30 years, Health Access has advocated for policies that protect patients when the health industry proposes to merge; whether that be health plans, hospitals, doctor groups, and more. Right now, the Attorney General of California is holding public hearings across the state to evaluate a proposed hospital system merger between Dignity Health Care and Catholic Hospital Initiatives. If approved, this merger would create one of the largest not-for-profit hospital systems in the country. Catholic hospitals have a long history of denying patients […] Read More

LGBT Week of Action; HHS’s 2015 Report on LGBT Issues

With the December 15 deadline for insurance coverage starting January 1st, Health Access participated in the LGBT Week of Action, urging LGBTQ communities throughout California to sign up for coverage. Health is an equality issue and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers many new opportunities for LGBTQ individuals and families to get the quality, affordable health coverage and health care they deserve. The ACA makes financial assistance available to help you find a plan that fits your budget. Depending on your income and family size, subsidies are available for people making up to almost $47,000 per year for an individual or almost $80,000 for a family of three. The ACA also establishes new LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination protections in health coverage and […] Read More

HHS Proposed Regulations Barring Discrimination on Basis of Sex, Gender, Gender Identity, Race and National Origin, Disability, and Age Need Work: Deadline to Comment is November 9, 2015

Last month the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which extends civil rights protections under Title VI, Title IX, the Age Discrimination Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), among others, to health programs that receive any federal funds.  No matter whether a given state operates its own exchange or if it is part of the federal marketplace, Section 1557 will apply to all health plans and the providers with whom they contract in every state—and it will apply to employer-based plans so long as that plan has insurance products serving populations that receive any federal funds, including Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA) and premium tax […] Read More

Covered California Board Meeting Highlights from October 8, 2015

With less than one month before open enrollment (November 1 – January 31), the Board focused mainly on this year’s research-driven “no wrong door” approach to maximizing enrollment and facilitating thoughtful plan selection using shop and compare tools, quality ratings, and reaching out to enrollees who look like they could benefit from enhanced silver plans with lower cost sharing. A press conference held earlier in the day provided a glimpse of the data on current or recent enrollees and what they tell us about Covered CA’s place in the insurance landscape. Most of the individuals surveyed (85%) are staying insured, even if they move into job-based coverage or Medi-Cal. As a source of quality affordable coverage for 1.3 million currently enrolled […] Read More

Gearing Up for November 1 Open Enrollment

With only three weeks to go until Covered California’s next open enrollment (November 1-January 31), today’s meeting of the Marketing, Outreach, and Enrollment Assistance Advisory Committee was packed with helpful information about Covered California’s research-driven strategies to maximize enrollment, especially in communities of color, and to help enrollees find their way into the best plan. Many of the strategies are informed by survey results on enrollee experience in 2014-15. Complete survey results should be released in tomorrow’s Covered CA Board Meeting. Highlights Marketing Strategies for Nov. 1: Building the Brand, While Showing Value of Insurance Current marketing strategies respond to survey results showing that many California consumers are aware of Covered CA, but many still are unfamiliar with the value of insurance. […] Read More

Health Reform 2.0: New Efforts on Value-Based Health Care

Health Access, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), and Consumers Union and other groups are teaming up to improve health and health equity for California consumers through transparency, benefit design, and Medi-Cal reforms. Through our new Value-Based Health Care initiative, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and working with the national group Community Catalyst, Health Access and CPEHN will build on the state’s success in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure that reforms to our health care delivery system lead to better health and health care and improved health equity for all Californians. Background California has come a long way in implementing and improving on the ACA through consumer protections, a robust exchange, and a promising start on delivery system reforms. Together with […] Read More