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Peter's Blog: Bus Tour, Day Ten

Located in the northwest corner of the state, California’s Humboldt and Mendocino counties are famed for their redwood trees, wineries and Victorian architecture. On the bus tour, it is Covered California’s community partners – rather than the picturesque natural landscapes – that we are shining the spotlight on.

Hillside Health Center in Ukiah was the first stop. This clinic is one of three health centers in the area operated by Mendocino Community Health Clinic. They serve thousands of people in the Lake and Mendocino Counties. Here there are full-time enrollment counselors who can answer customers’ questions about their health insurance options and sign them up for a plan through Covered California. Despite the rain, these dedicated partners were happy to come out and take a picture with the bus.

The Spotlight on Coverage Bus took a detour through the spectacular Avenue of the Giants between our Ukiah and Fortuna stops. This 31-mile stretch of highway is surrounded by world-famous ancient redwood trees.

We crossed the Eel River into Fortuna, a charming town surrounded by the forest, the river and the Pacific Ocean. And thanks to enrollment storefronts like Harbers Insurance, residents can also enjoy a seamless sign-up process and the security that comes with having health insurance. We are grateful for partners like Harbers who offer first-rate services in places like Fortuna, proving that urban areas are not the only place Californians can get in-person enrollment help.

A visit to Open Door Community Health Center brought us to Eureka, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland. Open Door was founded in 1971 as a response to the lack of access to quality care for residents of Humboldt and surrounding counties. Open Door now has several health centers throughout the region, and they are carrying on their original mission by offering enrollment counseling services to those interested in signing up for a health plan through Covered California.

One of Open Door’s enrollment counselors,  Breanne Olmstead, told an emotional story of a client who had gone for decades without insurance. He was resistant to meeting with her at first because insurance had been out of his reach for so long – he simply had lost hope of ever having health insurance at a price he could afford. When he found out his premiums for a health plan through Covered California would be less than $70 per month, he was so happy and relieved that he cried.

Next up, visits to our partners in Redding, Chico and Yuba City:
  1. 11:00 a.m. -- Mercy Medical Center (2175 Rosaline Avenue, Redding, CA 96001).
  2. 2:00 p.m. -- Lynn Bowers Agency (468 Manzanita Avenue, #7, Chico, CA  95926).
  3. 3:45 -- Ampla Health Yuba City Medical (935 Market Street, Yuba City, CA 95991).