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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Health officials urge automatic enrollment to Covered CA for the Medi-Cal non renewed

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Covered California (CoveredCA), the state-subsidized health insurance program, is urging individuals and families who lost their Medi-Cal coverage during the Medi-Cal renewal process to learn about and take advantage of the automatic health insurance transition program.

The California Department of Health Care Services and Covered California emphasized that low-income individuals who lose their Medi-Cal eligibility will still have access to similar health insurance benefits from Covered California.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about California’s health insurance benefits:

Officials from California’s Department of Health Care Services and Covered California encourage people to sign up for government-subsidized health insurance at the Southern California headquarters of the Asian American Advancing Justice on June 11. [Hyoungjae Kim, The Korea Daily]

What is the difference between Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Covered CA?
“Medi-Cal is a government program that provides free health insurance to individuals and families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($20,283 for a single person and $43,056 for a family of four). Medicare is health insurance for seniors aged 65 and older who have paid into Social Security. Covered CA is a program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that provides subsidized health insurance to individuals or families with incomes at or below 400% of the federal poverty level ($47,520 for a single person and $97,200 for a family of four).”

What is California’s Medi-Cal to Covered CA automatic enrollment program?
“California has been renewing Medi-Cal since the pandemic, from April 2023 to June 2024. However, hundreds of thousands of the 15 million Medi-Cal enrollees are expected to lose Medi-Cal eligibility due to increased income. California is notifying those whose renewals have been suspended to enroll in Covered California health insurance. Over the past year, 158,100 people (including 2,470 Korean Americans) have transitioned from Medi-Cal to Covered California.”

What is so important about the enrollment program?
“If you are unable to renew your Medi-Cal, you will become uninsured. Enrolling in Covered California will provide health coverage for as little as $10 per month. The California government sends out Covered California enrollment notices to people who have not renewed their Medi-Cal. If you receive a notice, you must respond within 30 days through its website or call the number on the notice to select a new health plan or make any changes.”

What if I don’t enroll in Covered CA health insurance?
“Under the ACA, the uninsured must pay a tax penalty ($900 for an adult and $450 for a child) when filing their taxes. Covered California says most of its enrollees qualify for government subsidies, so the premiums are lower than the penalty.”

How can I sign up for Covered CA?
“Applications are accepted annually from November 1 through January 31 of each year for uninsured adults (legal, permanent resident, and citizen) ages 18-64 living in California. You can apply online at CoveredCa.com, by phone (800-300-1506), through a designated agent, or through a nonprofit organization.”

Who is eligible for the Covered CA year-round special enrollment?
“You can enroll in Covered California at any time if you lose Medi-Cal eligibility, become uninsured due to job loss, become a dependent at age 26 or older, get married or have a baby, move to California, gain legal status, permanent residency or citizenship, or are discharged from the military.”

Is there an organization that can help Korean Americans in Southern California enroll in Medi-Cal or Covered California?
“Kheir Clinic (www.lakheir.org or 213-632-5521) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (ajsocal.org/800-867-3640) can help with enrollment. In Los Angeles Koreatown, the Covered California Enrollment Center located at 2631 W Olympic Boulevard is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.”

BY HYOUNGJAE KIM, HOONSIK WOO [kim.ian@koreadaily.com]