Covered California Failed To Reach Black Residents, Lawmakers Say
Last week, two California lawmakers said Covered California officials did not do enough to encourage black residents to sign up for health insurance during the exchange's first open enrollment period, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. Covered California is the state's health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
About 1.4 million California residents signed up for insurance through the state-run exchange during its first open enrollment period. However, only 30,774 -- or 2.2% -- were black.
Details of Complaints
During the exchange board meeting last week, Assembly member Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino) said there was a "lack of commitment" in outreach efforts to black communities compared with efforts to enroll Latino residents. As a result, she said black residents who did not purchase coverage could owe more than $8 million in fines to the Internal Revenue Service.
Further, Brown said that exchange staff failed to use a list provided by the state's Black Caucus of "trusted people" to reach out to the black community. In addition, messages that the exchange sent to black residents used images that "didn't speak to this community," according to Brown.
Meanwhile, Assembly member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), chair of the Black Caucus, during the meeting said the exchange "must be committed to outreach to [the black] community."
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the exchange "take[s] the concerns very seriously" (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/22).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.