Doctors Say New Coverage Is Changing Lives
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Covered California, the California Medical Association and leaders of 13 physician, pharmacist, hospital and health care provider groups joined forces Tuesday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to highlight health care being delivered as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and to announce a new partnership promoting health coverage offered during open enrollment.
"The voices of physicians and other health professionals are very powerful in our campaign to ensure all Californians have health insurance," said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. "We are very pleased to join with them today to promote the importance of coverage that can mean patients can get the vital care they need."
Lee appeared with leaders of the California Medical Association and UCLA Health System, as well as physicians who shared stories of life-changing health care they have provided to patients who obtained health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
"We physicians serving the needs of California's vulnerable populations know how the lack of coverage for medical care can impede access, often with avoidably tragic consequences. Covered California is an important step in the direction of filling this need," said Dr. Luther Cobb, California Medical Association president. "We're proud to join with Covered California to raise awareness about open enrollment in physicians' offices, through social media and in communities across the state to encourage all Californians to get the health coverage they need."
The California Medical Association is one of 14 statewide health provider organizations that have begun sending letters to their members along with resource materials encouraging them to promote open enrollment and to display an "I'm In" placard so that patients, prospective patients and family members will know that the providers accept insurance plan products offered through Covered California.
The letter is online at www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/Joint-Letter.pdf.
The resource materials included with the letter are available online at www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/2_County_Listing_of_carriers.pdf, www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/Covered_California_Insurer_Contacts.pdf, www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/office_placard.pdf and www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/open_enrollment_one_sheet.pdf.
Across the participating groups, more than 100,000 physicians, pharmacists and physician assistants, as well as more than 400 hospitals, health systems and medical groups, will receive these materials to get the word out and leave no Californian behind during this year's open-enrollment period, Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, 2015.
"This is the largest effort of its kind in the nation to partner with leading physician organizations to promote enrollment," Lee said.
Dr. David T. Feinberg, president of UCLA Health System and CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, opened the event announcing these activities and used the opportunity to highlight the many patients with Covered California health insurance who have been accessing vital services through physicians and facilities in the UCLA Health System.
"In the last year, we have provided critically important health care to thousands of patients who have health insurance through Covered California," Feinberg said. "We have seen lives saved and transformed as a result of the health care delivered here — all because of new insurance available through Covered California and as a result of the coverage expansion of the Affordable Care Act. We're pleased to help spread the word today about the vital importance of getting health insurance."
For more information about the care provided at UCLA to patients with health insurance through Covered California, see "One Hospital's Story — Delivering on the Promise of Care" online at www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/story-of-one-hospital.pdf.
"Ronald Reagan Medical Center is one of the 403 hospitals across California — representing 87 percent of all of California's acute care hospitals — that are delivering on the promise of care," Lee said. "Any Californian who does not have health insurance should take steps to purchase coverage before Feb. 15 so they will have access to medical care that can improve or even save their life."
Joining in the effort with Covered California and the California Medical Association are leaders of the California Academy of Family Physicians, the National Medical Association, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians, the California Latino Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics (California), the American College of Physicians (California chapter), the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, the California Academy of Physician Assistants, the California Pharmacists Association, the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the California Association of Physician Groups and the California Hospital Association.
The UCLA Health System will be among the first to promote the Covered California "I'm In" message in medical offices to foster enrollment by getting the word out, through its 152 outpatient sites in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties.
Californians who need health insurance should explore their options by visiting CoveredCA.com. They can apply online or seek help from more than 28,000 Certified Insurance Agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors and county eligibility workers who stand ready to help them enroll confidentially and at no cost.
Lee said that plans offered through Covered California provide good access to the care consumers need from physicians throughout California.
"We want consumers to know there is broad access to physicians and hospitals across the plans offered by the exchange," Lee said. "More than 61,000 unique physicians are available — or more than 75 percent of all licensed, active non-hospital physicians."
Covered California plans also include access to 403 acute care hospitals, or 87 percent of such facilities in California. Covered California plans include all of the University of California's hospitals and all member hospitals of the California Children's Hospital Association. See "Who's In Covered California" online at www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/who-is-in.pdf for more information.
"Today's stories about care being delivered at one of the nation's premiere health centers is further proof that getting coverage can get Californians access to the very best care," Lee said.
"While the Affordable Care Act is historic and a huge expansion of coverage, there remain more than 3.2 million uninsured Californians eligible for insurance," Lee said. "This year, the open-enrollment period will be shorter, so it's important to spread the word quickly to uninsured people eligible for coverage about this potentially life-saving opportunity."
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.
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SOURCE Covered California