Covered Calif. Receives $155M Federal Grant for Outreach
On Thursday, Covered California announced that it has received a supplemental grant of $155 million from the federal government to continue its efforts to enroll California residents in health insurance plans through the exchange, the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" reports.
The grant comes on top of $910 million in federal funding the exchange already has received.
According to "Bay Area BizTalk," the funds will be used for:
- Enrollment assistance;
- Staffing; and
- Technology (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 1/23).
Specifically, Covered California said it will spend $10 million to market health plans on the exchange to uninsured Latino residents, a demographic officials say is critical to the exchange's success.
In addition, the exchange said it will use the funds to hire 350 additional call-center employees before the end of open enrollment on March 31.
For more on Covered California's efforts to boost enrollment and marketing, see today's Capitol Desk post.
Covered California board member Paul Fearer expressed concerns that using the funds for marketing and outreach efforts could be detrimental if the exchange's customer service is not up to par.
Fearer said, "I'm concerned about ramping up media if we aren't fully prepared and ready to give excellent customer service," adding that by doing so the exchange "may actually do more harm than good."
However, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said stepping up marketing is necessary to inform residents about how they can receive in-person enrollment assistance in their communities (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 1 /23).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.