Applications For Covered California Now Available In Asian Languages

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Covered California™ and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) have introduced enrollment application forms in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, providing additional paths for residents to obtain quality, affordable health insurance.

The applications, available now under the “Languages” tab at www.CoveredCA.com, can be printed and completed in paper form.

“It’s vital that Covered California and DHCS reach consumers who may speak other languages,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “The Asian community is a vital and valued part of the consumer base we serve, and over the next three months we’ll continue our focus on helping Asian-language-speaking Californians obtain coverage that protects their families.”

“Many of our Medi-Cal members speak Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese as their primary language,” said DHCS Director Toby Douglas. “The new application forms will help ensure that we continue to make Medi-Cal’s quality health care services readily available to all who are eligible.”

An estimated 5.3 million Californians are eligible to apply for health insurance through Covered California. About 2.6 million residents in that total are eligible for financial assistance to help them pay coverage.

Asians represent about 14 percent of those eligible for financial assistance to purchase insurance through Covered California, which has ongoing outreach, education and enrollment serving them. Covered California also reaches out to this important community through social media, including daily interactions via Facebook and Twitter.

Covered California has more than 3,000 trained Certified Enrollment Counselors to help residents enroll. About 4 percent of those counselors speak Cantonese, 4 percent speak Mandarin, 2 percent speak Korean, and 2 percent speak Vietnamese.

More than 9,300 licensed Certified Insurance Agents also are available statewide to enroll residents. About 5 percent of those agents speak Chinese, 5 percent speak Korean, and 4 percent speak Vietnamese. And more than 10,000 county eligibility workers – many whom are bilingual – also are available to help.

Finally, Covered California has 481 Service Center representatives to assist consumers over the phone. As Covered California works to increase its bilingual Service Center staff, it also utilizes a translation service when call volumes increase. Covered California Service Center representatives handle calls statewide in dozens of languages.

“Providing applications in multiple languages is good for consumers who are more comfortable speaking their native language when thinking through the important decision of selecting health coverage. And we fully anticipate they will need help from Service Center representatives, Certified Enrollment Counselors, Certified Insurance Agents and county staff to complete the process,” Lee said. “That’s why it’s so good that we have so many people now available to help fill out applications face to face.”

Consumers who speak Asian languages may reach someone who speaks their language by calling (800) 300-1506. They can find local assistance in their language by clicking on the “Find Help Near You” button at www.CoveredCA.com.

Besides Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, the printable application also is available in English and Spanish. Consumers have until March 31 to enroll in a Covered California health insurance plan.

About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.

About the Department of Health Care Services
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) works to preserve and improve the physical and mental health of all Californians. DHCS provides health care services for more than 8.5 million Californians through Medi-Cal, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services and long-term services and supports. This is accomplished through an investment of approximately $70 billion annually in public funds for the care of low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and persons with disabilities. DHCS focuses on delivering quality, effective services primarily through the more coordinated systems of care provided by 21 Medi-Cal managed care plans located in all of California’s 58 counties. For more information about DHCS, please visit www.dhcs.ca.gov.

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