News Release

Date Posted

Covered California Kicks Off Statewide Bus Tour at Scripps Mercy Hospital by Highlighting Vital Care Being Delivered

San Diego Patients with Insurance Through Covered California Have Received Lung and Kidney Transplants, Joint Replacements and Cancer Treatment Since the Exchange Opened in 2014

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Covered California joined the leadership of Scripps Health, the California Department of Health Care Services and local community groups on Friday to highlight the health care that Covered California enrollees have received in premier facilities since the exchange opened in 2014.
As Covered California launches its third open-enrollment period under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is releasing data on the number and types of services provided to Covered California enrollees over the first 18 months of coverage.

“The theme of this open-enrollment period is ‘putting a spotlight on enrollment’ and ‘putting a spotlight on hospitals that are delivering on the promise of care,’” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “The statewide tour we are starting in San Diego will seek to bring home the fact that insurance is affordable to many who are now uninsured, and if people get covered they can get top-quality care from our state’s best hospitals and health providers when the worst happens.”

Covered California is spotlighting enrollment because an estimated 2.2 million uninsured Californians remain eligible to get help to make their insurance affordable by enrolling in either Covered California or Medi-Cal. An estimated 750,000 uninsured Californians could enroll through Covered California, including about 60,000 in San Diego County alone.

The spotlight on care is important because more than 2 million Californians have benefited from coverage since the exchange opened its doors, and many have received care and services.

“We need to remind those who are considering going without coverage that they are a diagnosis or an accident away from going broke or not getting the early intervention that can be life-saving,” said Lee. 

Covered California collected data from hospitals statewide about the care being delivered to its members, some of whom have insurance for the first time as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
At Scripps Health’s five area hospitals, 7,584 Covered California members have received care, including:
  • 10,280 incidents of general outpatient care.
  • 3,946 treatments for broken bones and trauma.
  • 611 incidents of care for pneumonia, heart attacks, strokes and kidney infections.
  • 239 incidents of pediatric care, including in neonatal intensive care units.
  • 227 cancer treatments, including surgeries and chemotherapy.
  • 130 heart surgeries and procedures.
  • 70 joints replaced (knee and hip).
  • 14 organ and bone marrow transplants.

In addition, some 11,000 patients have received care at Scripps’ 28 ambulatory facilities.

“We want to spotlight that the Affordable Care Act is delivering on the promise of care, getting Californians the coverage they need to improve their lives,” Lee said.

“Here in San Diego County, Scripps has always welcomed all patients and provided emergency care to everyone who comes through our doors,” said Chris Van Gorder, Scripps’ president and CEO. “Now, more patients than ever have health coverage. More people with insurance means more people with access to quality care that is there for them when they are sick and — just as importantly — is there to help keep them well in the first place.“

Department of Health Care Services Director Jennifer Kent noted that while those eligible for Medi-Cal can enroll year-round, open enrollment is an important opportunity to get the word out.

“Open enrollment is a perfect time to reach Californians who don’t have coverage now but may qualify for Medi-Cal,” said Kent. “We want to give everyone the same opportunity as the nearly 4 million others who have enrolled in Medi-Cal since 2014 and are now enjoying the security of quality health care coverage.”

Friday’s event at Scripps Mercy kicked off Covered California’s 38-stop bus tour promoting open enrollment for Covered California, which begins Nov. 1 and continues through Jan. 31. Open enrollment is the time when all uninsured Californians can get health insurance through Covered California, many with financial help to pay their premiums.

Lee said the “Spotlight on Coverage” bus tour, as well as the actual spotlights lighting up iconic buildings, hospitals, medical centers and enrollment locations across the state, are designed to draw attention to open enrollment in Covered California’s historic third year and will seek to reduce the number of Californians without health insurance.

“We have made tremendous progress making Californians aware of Covered California, but one-third of those eligible to get financial help to buy insurance don’t know they qualify for it,” Lee said. “We urge those who need insurance and those who already have it to spread the word as we continue on our historic mission to reduce the number of uninsured in our state.”

Lee said the “Spotlight on Coverage” tour will continue through Nov. 12, with 38 stops planned at hospitals, community clinics, enrollment locations and storefronts from San Diego to Eureka. 

Those who need insurance can go to to learn about their options and find locations in their community where they can get free, confidential help enrolling.

This year, Covered California has more than 500 storefront locations statewide where individuals can get help enrolling — twice the number available at the start of last year’s open enrollment.
More information on the Covered California patient data from Scripps Health is at:

Scripps Medical Foundation contracts with Blue Shield of California under Covered California, and Scripps hospitals contract with Blue Shield, Health Net, Molina Healthcare and Anthem Blue Cross of California.

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