Do you live in a ‘hot spot’? need health insurance? Covered California can help, but 12/15 deadline looming

 CoveredCA_Heat_Map_Bay_AreaAs the Dec. 15 deadline to enroll for health insurance starting in January approaches, Covered California has released a list of the top areas in the San Francisco Bay Area where high numbers of people who qualify for subsidized health insurance are believed to reside.

The “hot spots” released today show the estimated highest concentrations of subsidy-eligible uninsured individuals – people who qualify for help to buy health insurance through Covered California but have not yet taken advantage of it.

“Covered California works across all of California, but the maps help us focus our efforts on areas where we know many who are still uninsured live,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Everyone who needs health insurance, or knows someone who does, should know they can get financial help to pay for top-brand health insurance coverage, and if they enroll by Dec. 15, their coverage can start on Jan. 1.”

According to Covered California, the “hot spots” shown on the maps at www.CoveredCA.com/news/pdfs/CoveredCA_Heat_Map_Bay_Area.pdf generally contain more remaining subsidy-eligible individuals per capita than the rest of the region. For example, while Covered California estimates that 2.5 percent of the state’s overall population is subsidy-eligible, the maps show:

“If you live in one of these areas – in the Panhandle or Mission district, near UC Berkeley or in Fruitvale, in East San Jose or North Shoreview, in Richmond, in Concord or in the Canal District – and you do not have health insurance, now is the time to get covered,” Lee said. “This is our opportunity to build healthier communities throughout the Bay Area, Northern California and the rest of the state.”

“Covered California works across all of California, but the maps help us focus our efforts on areas where we know many who are still uninsured live,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said.

Covered California has redoubled its enrollment outreach efforts in the region, including:

  • Working to expand the number of storefronts in neighborhood hot spots.
  • Working on the ground with Certified Insurance Agents and community partners to ensure that enrollment events are located in optimal locations and that residents in hot-spot communities are aware of enrollment locations nearby.
  • Conducting more than a dozen interviews with Spanish-language and Asian-language media and highlighting hot spots by name to reach Spanish speakers and Asian-language speakers in their neighborhoods.
  • Scheduling phone banks in partnership with English- and Spanish-language news outlets and promoting enrollment in specific neighborhoods.
  • Launching an intensive enrollment effort in communities where high numbers of subsidy-eligible African-Americans reside, by going door to door to canvass with street teams; visiting barber shops, hair care salons and other small businesses; and deploying the “Van with a Plan” (a branded Covered California van) to areas where high numbers of subsidy-eligible uninsured Californians live.

As of Monday, Dec. 7, more than 83,000 Californians had selected plans through Covered California since open enrollment began on Nov. 1.

“Our research indicates that one-third of those eligible to get financial help to buy insurance don’t know it’s available,” Lee said. “We want to leave no stone unturned and make sure our message reaches into neighborhoods throughout the state, especially those where we believe the highest number of the eligible uninsured live.”

Covered California estimates that 750,000 people in the state are eligible for help paying for their health insurance but remain uninsured. An additional 1.4 million people statewide are believed to qualify for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal.

Enrollment locations can be found by visiting www.CoveredCA.com/get-help/local and searching for enrollment help by ZIP code. In addition, hundreds of locations with Covered California signage mark places where consumers can enroll confidentially and at no cost in a variety of languages.

“Our research indicates that one-third of those eligible to get financial help to buy insurance don’t know it’s available,” Lee said.

Covered California developed the maps by combining estimates of eligibility for coverage under the Affordable Care Act from a model of California insurance markets that was developed by the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research and the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education, known as the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (or CalSIM) and from U.S. Census data from the American Community Survey.

The model accounts for individuals who are eligible for other sources of coverage (Medi-Cal, Medicare or job-based coverage), as well as those who are undocumented.

The estimates also incorporate Covered California’s currently enrolled consumers (as of July 2015).

To find out more about the health plans and options available, consumers can visit www.CoveredCA.com. Consumers can get a quick assessment of how much it would cost to buy health insurance by clicking on “Shop and Compare,” and they can apply for coverage online. Open enrollment continues through Jan. 31.

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.

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 about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.