California Could Spend $300M To Promote Affordable Care Act
State officials could spend more than $300 million on efforts to promote the Affordable Care Act in California, including initiatives to highlight the Medi-Cal expansion and the state health insurance exchange, AP/U-T San Diego reports (Blood, AP/U-T San Diego, 7/24).
Background on Medi-Cal Expansion
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Under the ACA, a state expansion of Medi-Cal will allow individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually, to gain coverage.
The federal government will fund the expansion for the first few years, according to the ACA.
Background on State Exchange
The exchange -- called Covered California -- primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
Supporters hope that the exchange will function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia, allowing users to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store.
The exchange is expected to open for registration in October, and an estimated five million people will purchase plans through the exchange in 2014.
Need for Outreach Campaign
According to federal officials, California has the country's largest health insurance market and about six million uninsured residents, making it a crucial place for implementation of the ACA.
The Obama administration seeks to have about seven million individuals across the U.S. enroll in state health insurance exchanges. Officials say that about 2.6 million of them need to be young and healthy individuals to help keep costs down for the overall pool of enrollees.
Nearly one-third of such young individuals live in California, Florida and Texas.
Meanwhile, the White House says that the ACA will give coverage opportunities to more than 10 million uninsured Latinos, many of whom live in California (California Healthline, 7/24).
California is expected to receive $174 million -- or 25% -- of the total $684 million allotted to U.S. states to promote the ACA, according to data compiled by the Associated Press.
In addition, the California Endowment plans to spend about $130 million for enrollment and advertising efforts aimed at Hispanic residents.
According to the AP review, California will spend $4.68 per resident to promote the law, the highest rate in the U.S.
Outreach efforts in California will include:
- Television and online advertisements;
- Door-to-door visits; and
- Other sales pitches and promotions.
Bruce Cain -- a political scientist at Stanford University -- said, "The really important selling job will be [to] younger, healthier voters who are going to get hit with the (insurance) mandate on top of a really bad job market."
He added, "Many may opt to pay [a penalty] rather than enroll, and that could throw things off massively" (AP/U-T San Diego, 7/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.