Covered California Receives Federal Grant to Continue Work Of Expanding Health Care Access

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After a successful launch that enrolled nearly a half-million Californians in health insurance plans, Covered California received additional federal funding this week to expand and enhance the work of providing affordable health care coverage.

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The $155 million grant will primarily target outreach and marketing, enrollment assistance, staffing and technology for the state health benefit exchange in 2014.

“California became the first state to pass legislation establishing a state health insurance exchange in 2010, and since then we’ve been working to be sure all Californians benefit from the Affordable Care Act,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “Covered California created a new marketplace, including an online enrollment portal, put in place federal health care reform regulations and signed up hundreds of thousands of people, all with the support of federal funding. The new grant will help us continue our mission, so residents can have the peace of mind and security that comes with health coverage for many years to come.”

Covered California received previous federal grants totaling about $910 million for planning and development of the exchange. The new funding, called a supplemental grant, will go toward sustaining and extending these programs.

“We recognize that California is seen as a model exchange, and a leader in this new culture of coverage,” Lee said. “The grant is a testament to our hard work and to the vision of the federal Affordable Care Act to provide health care access to millions, through our private insurance plans and our partnership with the state’s Medi-Cal program.”

The funds will allow Covered California to build on the momentum generated in the past year and zero in on areas that need additional resources, including expanded marketing and outreach activities, especially aimed at young adults and uninsured Hispanics. The grant will also be used to bolster the small-group employer market; build more robust data analysis; support health plan renewal; hire and train staff in enrollment assistance, communications and consumer protection areas; and augment existing enrollment system technology to improve the consumer experience and to keep up with emerging state and federal requirements.

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.

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