With health insurance enrollments under the Affordable Care Act underway since November 1, Santa Barbara County will soon have only one insurance carrier — Blue Shield — providing coverage for individuals signed up under Covered California’s individual plans. Anthem Blue Cross announced it was pulling out of the county as of January 1. When that happens, 7,000 Sansum patients could find themselves without a carrier; Sansum had signed an exclusive deal with Anthem Blue Cross.
In the meantime, Sansum CEO Kurt Ransohoff said Sansum and Blue Shield negotiators have been meeting on a daily basis, trying to hammer out a solution. “As anxiety inducing as this is, we still have time to work something out,” said Ransohoff, adding, “and we expect we will.” County health officials are trying to drum up publicity for the new enrollments.
The White House — having failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act — has cut back on the time available for new enrollees to sign up and has slashed the promotions budget for new enrollments. Peter Lee, head of Covered California, is beating the drum on a seven-day whistle-stop bus tour of California that will touch down in Santa Barbara on Friday for the grand unveiling of a new mural at the bottom of State Street by muralist David Flores.