Covered California is trying to raise awareness about the start of open enrollment this Saturday, November 15th. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the experience this year may be different for people buying their own insurance.
Covered California says its website this year will be able to accommodate more people who might be logging in at the same time. And Director Peter Lee says it will have 200 storefront locations and expanded service center hours.
Lee: “We’re going to have 600 more people on the phones. So instead of people having long wait times, getting to them more quickly, in English, in Spanish, in Mandarin, in Hmong.”
Lee said the number of uninsured people in California was cut in half during last year’s enrollment period. But signing up people this year will be harder, because the exchange will be reaching out to individuals who are now used to living without health insurance.
Lee: “They’re individuals who have adjusted to a culture of coping. They’ve figured out kind of how to make things work. But also, they’re individuals who just don’t believe health care can be affordable for them.”
This year people have less time to sign-up for coverage. Open enrollment lasts until February 15th.