Residents of Southeast L.A. County Will Test State’s Enrollment Efforts
Covered California likely will face difficulties enrolling residents of southeast Los Angeles County in health coverage, Kaiser Health News reports.
Background on Area
About 60% of residents -- or 60,000 individuals -- in the Zip code encompassing the towns of Bell and Cudahy are eligible for Medi-Cal or federal subsidies through the state insurance exchange. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In addition, 95% of residents in that Zip code are Latino, more than 50% of whom do not speak English well, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
About 40% of residents in that area have less than a ninth-grade education, and the median household income is $38,500.
According to KHN, enrolling Bell and Cudahy residents in exchange plans will be a challenge because of:
- Local political scandals that have fueled distrust in government; and
- A lack of enrollment counselors.
So far, only 2,047 enrollment counselors have been certified by Covered California, far fewer than the goal of having 16,000 certified counselors by this time. About 7,700 insurance agents have been certified by the exchange, but more than 11,000 still are awaiting certification.
Residents also have said that problems with the federal health insurance exchange website have made them hesitant to attempt enrolling via Covered California, according to KHN.
David Panush, director of external affairs at Covered California, said he does not expect national challenges, such as issues with the federal exchange site, to affect enrollment in Bell and Cudahy.
"This is a national policy that goes well beyond what happens within the borders of the cities, and people know that," Panush said (Gorman, Kaiser Health News, 12/10).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.