October 07, 2013
Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, last week launched its online insurance marketplace, which will serve as the cornerstone of the reform efforts called for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California will provide affordable health insurance to millions of Californians beginning January 1, 2014.
Although there were a few technical glitches during the first week of operation, the California Medical Association (CMA) remains optimistic. Throughout the health care reform debate, CMA strongly advocated for affordable access to care for California’s uninsured and for an expansion of health insurance coverage.
“CMA has long supported access to health care for all patients,” said Paul R. Phinney, M.D., CMA president. “This marks a positive inflection point in our nation's commitment to access to health care for all Americans."
Five categories of plans will be available through Covered California, consisting of four metal tiers (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and a catastrophic plan.
“The opening of Covered California is an opportunity for patients who have gone without access to medical care for months, years or even decades to see a physician” added Dr. Phinney. “There is still work to do, since access to insurance does not always guarantee access to a physician. The doctors of CMA look forward to working with Covered California to ensure that all Californians have access to the care they need and deserve."
CMA, in conjunction with the CMA Foundation, the Latino Physicians of California and the American Academy of Pediatrics, California, was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant for outreach and education to physicians about Covered California. The focus of the grant is to educate physicians and their office staff about coverage eligibility and patient enrollment.
"We are on the ground, communicating with our member physicians and colleagues about Covered California," concluded Dr. Phinney. "We want to make sure physicians and their patients have the information they need to make the goals of Covered California a reality. As with any effort of this magnitude, there will be bumps along the road. We remain committed to the effort nonetheless, and will do our utmost to educate our partners and patients on the significance of this historic change in the delivery of health care."
For more information on Covered California, see CMA’sexchange resource center.