The New Year means new goals, new resolutions and a new reality for thousands of Californians.
We are halfway through this open-enrollment period and thanks to the great efforts of our partners across the state, more than 144,000 new consumers have joined the ranks of the insured through Covered California, and many more have newly enrolled in Medi-Cal. These are men and women from every community, from all walks of life, who were able to begin using their new coverage on January 1.
They have become part of a new era of health care, one where coverage is a right and not a privilege, where no one can be turned away, and where financial assistance is available to help pay for the protection they deserve.
California enters 2015 with an even stronger and larger network of groups and individuals dedicated to spreading the word that health care coverage is now within reach, and making sure that no Californian is left behind.
As part of our efforts, Covered California partnered with the leading immigration organizations in the country to reach into communities and eliminate the misinformation and fear that has prevented some from getting the coverage they deserve. We want to make it clear:
- The immigration status of every consumer will be kept secure and confidential
- No one’s immigration status will be shared with any immigration agency or used to enforce immigration laws
- You can read the full details of the campaign by clicking on this link: http://news.coveredca.com/2014/12/covered-california-partners-with.html
- More than 170,000 individuals were contacted by their membership organization – groups like the California Medical Association, major ethnic physician organizations, and leading primary care organizations representing family physicians and internal medicine
- Members are promoting the importance of getting health insurance
- Providers are displaying “I’m In” placards in their offices to inform patients that they accept Covered California insurance plans
- You can read the full details of the partnership by clicking on this link: http://news.coveredca.com/2014/12/leading-physicians-medical-groups.html
Due to the success of this venture, we are now extending the partnership to regional medical groups throughout the state, in the hopes that they will also join the effort.
There are many Californians who have still not signed up. While few of them are likely to be reading this,those who are can and should redouble your efforts to do the outreach to encourage all Californians to make the best “New Year’s Resolution” possible: resolving to be proactive about your and your family’s health by getting covered.
The next few weeks will pass quickly and open enrollment ends on Sunday, February 15. Please help us get the word out. In a year-end note I sent to some colleagues, I quoted Margaret Mead who said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
As we welcome to the New Year and I see the amazing amount of activity in every part of the state, her quote is confirmed and contradicted. It is confirmed by the fact that in community after community, small groups of advocates, insurance agents, doctors, health plan staff and many more are coming together to change the world for those that have been without insurance. It is contradicted by the fact that taken together,these small groups add up to many thousands of Californians who are together changing the world in a positive way. We now are on the path to having universal health coverage in America because of many years of dedicated work by many small groups of citizens across California and the nation – including and especially the work you do each day.
So in the spirit of the New Year, I want to take this time to thank all of our partners who have been a part of making history. We have created a photo book entitled “Covered California Making History: 2013-2014 First Open Enrollment.” The book is a selection of images from our first year’s open enrollment and reflects the wonderful diversity of our state and our efforts to improve the health of all Californians. If you would like to download a copy for yourself, you can do so through Shutterfly at http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AbNW7Vm5ZM27yg. Another photo book, containing pictures of this year’s open enrollment, including activities across the state, will be available after we close out this second enrollment period.
As we work on the second open-enrollment period, we recognize that our work is far from done. At the same time, we can and should celebrate the work we and others have done. With that in mind, I offer everyone who has helped Californians gain access to health coverage my thanks and best wishes for the year to come.