County Human Services Agency Staff Ready for 2nd Health Care Open Enrollment
Saturday, November 15 opens the 2nd enrollment period for health insurance coverage offered under the federal Affordable Care Act.. Covered California, California’s marketplace for health insurance plans will accept applications through February 15, 2015. New coverage would go into effect on January 1, 2015, or the first day of the month after the application has been accepted. Enrollment for Medi-Cal is available year-round.
During the first open enrollment period last year, over 24,000 residents enrolled in Medi-Cal and over 26,000 in subsidized health plans. This year, there an estimated 30,000 residents that still remain uninsured.
This year, Human Services Agency has focused its support based on last year’s experience. Although Medi-Cal applications can be processed year-round, the Human Services Agency has reinforced staffing at its call center and in regional offices, in anticipation of an influx of applications. Benefits analysts assist residents by phone, on a walk-in basis, or by appointments in offices. Additional Agency staff work within community-based organizations to make it even easier for residents to obtain assistance. “What we learned last year is that longer office hours aren’t as valuable as having our staff in the communities where our residents live and work,” stated Human Services Agency Director Iliana Rodriguez. “We are also excited about our new website portal which, in partnership with the Health System, has been created to provide a clear and direct path to resources for health care coverage in San Mateo County.” The new page can be accessed at https://www.smcgov.org/healthcoverage
The Human Services Agency processed applications and enrolled residents in Medi-Cal and in Covered CA health plans through phone and in-person appointments. County social service agencies, as well as Certified Enrollment Counselors, are authorized by the State to facilitate the entire enrollment process for a resident, from creating an application to enrolling into their selected Covered California health plan. The agencies interface with the State’s enrollment and eligibility system (CalHEERS) to obtain eligibility verification. A list of enrollment locations is available at https://www.smcgov.org/healthcoverage
Individuals or families with incomes below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) may be eligible for no-cost health insurance, known as Medi-Cal. For an individual, that level is $16,105. For a household of 3, the income cap is $27,310. Tables of income limits for households and sample plan rates are available at: hsa.smcgov.org/health-coverage
Low to moderate-income families may qualify for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit health insurance programs during the open enrollment period. For example, for a household of 3 with an income under $79,160, or an individual that makes less than $46,680, affordable private health insurance can be obtained through Anthem, Blue Shield, Chinese Community Health Plan, Health Net, and Kaiser Permanente.
Uninsured residents that are ready to get covered are encouraged to call the Health Care Enrollment Call Center Monday through Friday, 8am – 6pm, at 1-800-223-8383