Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Covered California: The Foundation of Obamacare, Success, Challenges, And The Road Ahead

By Richard Scheffler

As the end of the open enrollment period on March 31 draws near, the Covered California state health insurance exchange is engaged in a final push for enrollees that will bring it beyond its baseline enrollment goals, launching a new advertising campaign and resolving application issues caused by a software glitch in February.

Throughout the open enrollment period, salient points and concerns have been raised about enrollment numbers, access to care, plan affordability, and benefit design in marketplace plans. These issues are being closely monitored and evaluated in California – the state which has the largest pool of subsidy-eligible individuals and accounted for 23 percent of national enrollments in 2013 – and are being discussed in forums nationwide.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation briefing and panel discussion, “Affordable Care Act: A Spotlight on California,” discussed the importance of Covered California as a barometer of the success of the Affordable Care Act, and released a snapshot of California coverage at the outset of health reform implementation.

“California is a giant state with a big and diverse uninsured population that has embraced the law, has political will, has money for outreach, … and has been out front implementing the Affordable Care Act,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation in the briefing.  “So both its successes and its challenges, they really matter for other states, and they really matter for the country.”

Click here to continue reading this post, which was published on the blog for the journal Health Affairs, and co-authored by MPH candidate Jessica Foster.