Are you one of the thousands of Central Coast residents who have signed up for health-care coverage through Covered California? If you aren’t, it’s not too late to get insured, and you should consider signing up before the February 15 deadline.
You would be joining thousands of Central Coast residents who got health insurance coverage for the first time in a long time, or maybe ever. In fact, uninsured rates across the country are at record lows, with more people than ever having access to quality health care.
That is great news for a newly covered family, for our community, and for our entire country. Widely available, affordable health-care coverage means healthier families and a healthier, more productive community overall. It means fewer people relying on an emergency room for their basic health-care needs, more treatable illnesses addressed before they get out of hand, and far less of our friends and neighbors only one illness away from bankruptcy.
And while all of this is good news, thousands of people still remain uninsured in our community today. If that is you, someone in your family, or a friend — or even if you just want to explore potential options — it’s not too late to get health insurance coverage. I urge you to visit the Covered California website today to check out your coverage options before the “open enrollment season” ends on February 15.
We have learned a lot through the early implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and one thing has been clear: Our state is leading the way by creating and running our own state exchange, Covered California. Because of California’s commitment to expanding access, more than 3 million people in our state now have quality, affordable health care.
And we are seeing the results of Covered California’s success right here on the Central Coast. Last year, as a result of thousands of previously uninsured Central Coast residents signing up for health coverage, the number of uninsured residents along the Central Coast dropped by 50 percent.
It has led to more than 9,000 Central Coast seniors receiving Medicare Part D prescription drug discounts worth $13.1 million. And up to 36,000 children in our community with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied access to coverage.
Expanding access to health care for millions of people has not been a simple undertaking, and we never thought it would be. I know many residents were understandably frustrated when they signed up for a plan only to find a limited network of providers, some of whom are no longer even accepting the plans. That is why I have worked to fix inaccurate insurance network listings on the Covered California website and strengthen health-care provider networks. And last month I was pleased to see California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issue an emergency regulation requiring insurers to guarantee that their plans include an adequate number of primary care physicians accepting new patients.
It is these types of changes that will make health care more accessible to more people, and that is why I will continue to support commonsense fixes to improve the law.
Finally, I know there is a lot of mistrust and misinformation surrounding the Affordable Care Act, but regardless of one’s political views, I think we can all agree that we want everyone to have access to quality, affordable health-care coverage. We cannot allow politics to get in the way of public health.
So if you or someone you know still lacks health insurance, it’s not too late to sign up. But the deadline is right around the corner. You only have until February 15 to shop for insurance through Covered California.
For more information, please visit CoveredCA.com or call (800) 300-1506.
You can also get help in person by contacting a Navigator, a Certified Application Counselor, or a licensed Agent or Broker.
And if you are having immediate issues, please contact one of my offices, and we will do our best to help.
But don’t delay — once the February 15 deadlines passes, enrollment won’t be open again until next fall.
Congressmember Lois Capps represents California’s 24th Congressional District, which includes Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and parts of Ventura counties.