California joins 18 other states that have received approval from the federal government to run their separate health insurance markets for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reports.
What is the name of the California health exchange program?
The name of the program is "Covered California."
How many Californians currently do not have health insurance?
Approximately 18 percent of California residents do not have any type of health insurance coverage.
What are the deadlines Covered California must meet to maintain federal government approval of the program?
Coverage must take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. Covered California intends to open enrollment on Oct. 1.
How much money has the federal government paid to California for the purpose of getting its own health insurance marketplace up and running?
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Golden State has -- so far -- received grants totaling $237 million for the setup of Covered California. These funds may be spent on computer systems, marketing efforts and staffing.
How many Californians will probably buy health insurance coverage from Covered California?
California Health Benefit Advisers (CAHBA) estimate that in 2014 and 2015, 2 million California residents will use Covered California to purchase premium-subsidized health insurance. The program will assist another three million Californians with Medi-Cal enrollment. Small business owners with fewer than 50 employees can sign up for group coverage via the Small Group Option Program Exchange (SHOP). There are plans to extend this program to companies with 100 employees at a later date.
How will subsidized insurance plan premiums affect California health coverage buyers?
CAHBA takes into account the 2011 federal poverty guidelines when setting up the subsidies. A buyer of an individual policy, whose income is at 100 percent of the federal poverty level, should have an annual income that does not exceed $10,890. If the buyer is a part of a family of four, the income ceiling increases to $22,350. Eligible buyers may make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). An individual buyer falling into the latter percentile may have an annual income of $43,560. If it is a family of four, this income ceiling goes up to $89,400.
If a buyer at the 399-percent FPL level were to make unsubsidized insurance premium payments, the cost would likely be $1,187 per month for a family of four. After the monthly credit, the premium payment decreases to $742 per month. A subscriber in the 150th percentile of the FPL would only pay $117 for the same coverage.
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.
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