Click to read Chinese version of this news release (中文)
Open Enrollment Runs Through Sunday, Jan. 31
Open Enrollment Runs Through Sunday, Jan. 31
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California joined with leaders of the Asian-American community to spread the word that time is running out for uninsured Californians to sign up for quality health insurance coverage.“We are teaming up with leaders of Asian-American communities to make sure that we reach out to everyone who is eligible for coverage,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “We want to drive home the message that the deadline is coming up and remind consumers that financial help is available through Covered California.”
Assemblymember Rob Bonta, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health, said uninsured Asian-Americans across the state should explore their options in this new era of health care and get coverage for 2016.
“Health care is now a right and not just a privilege for the fortunate,” Bonta said. “Enrolling in Covered California gives people access to the best doctors and hospitals in the state, and that is critical to building strong families and communities.”
Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Human Services, said there is still time for those who have waited to get coverage for the remainder of 2016.
“The uninsured are among the most vulnerable in California and that can change now,” Chu said. “Every community in California can benefit from better health service and lower costs for care.”
Tuesday’s outreach effort included a teleconference with Covered California, Asian-language media, Bonta and Chu, as well as officials from Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Asian Pacific Health Care Venture Inc.
In addition, Bonta, Chu and Lee wanted to alert consumers to the rising tax penalty if they choose to remain uninsured in 2016 and reassure them that their immigration status will not be shared with immigration authorities.
“We know that many mixed families live in California, and consumers should know that when someone applies to Covered California their information will not be shared or used by any immigration agency,” Bonta said.
Chu added: “A consumer’s information will only be used to determine their eligibility for health insurance programs available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and will not affect the immigration status of any family member on the application.”
Covered California developed an immigration status fact sheet for consumers. The fact sheet is online at the following links:
- Chinese: www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/immigration-fact-sheet-ca-chi.pdf
- Korean: www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/immigration-fact-sheet-ca-kor.pdf
- Vietnamese: www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/immigration-fact-sheet-ca-vie.pdf
While noncitizens and undocumented residents will not be eligible for Covered California health insurance plans, they may still be eligible for specific, limited Medi-Cal programs. Individual consumers and their families are encouraged to research their options through Covered California to see what health coverage is available to them.
As for the tax penalty, in some cases a consumer could actually save money by purchasing health insurance instead of paying the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“The tax penalty starts at $695 for an adult, or $2,085 for a family of four, and can easily be several hundred or even thousands of dollars more,” Lee said. “That’s money that goes straight to the IRS, and the consumer gets nothing in return. Don’t gamble with your health or your financial future.”
For more information on how the tax penalty is calculated, visit http://news.CoveredCA.com/2016/01/covered-california-estimates-hundreds.html.
Covered California has also built an extensive network of Asian-language resources, including online resources available in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Lao, Tagalog and Hmong. These can be found by clicking on “Other Languages” in the top right corner of www.CoveredCA.com.
Consumers can also speak to certified enrollers in their language at (800) 300-1506 and find thousands of local certified enrollers by visiting www.CoveredCA.com/get-help/local. The in-person assistance is free, confidential and available in a variety of languages throughout the state.
Consumers who apply may be eligible for financial assistance depending on their income and family size. Approximately nine out of every 10 enrollees receives some level of financial assistance to help pay for their health care, with the average Covered California household receiving $5,200 in financial assistance in 2014. Consumers can find out if they qualify by using the Shop and Compare Tool on Covered California’s website.
Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31. Consumers who qualify for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal can enroll at any time.
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.