Groups Gear Up for Big Enrollment Events

An estimated 1,500 people attended an enrollment fair over the weekend in Sacramento. That may be the largest event of its kind but definitely not the last of its kind, organizers said.

“This was the first large one we’ve done, this was the first of its size,” said Sean Wherley, spokesman for Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West that co-sponsored the event with the California Endowment.

“Now we are moving this statewide,” Wherley said.

Events are planned Saturday in Richmond and the following Saturday in Stockton, Wherley said.

“As the deadline approaches, we think more people will realize they need to get on it and sign up by Dec. 15 [to start receiving coverage Jan. 1, 2014],” Wherley said.

Dayanna Carlos, a program associate with the California Endowment, said the Endowment has set up enrollment events this size in the past but this had a little extra zip, she said, because it was the first one since Covered California opened enrollment Oct. 1.

The Endowment has hosted events in Oakland, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego over the past two years to help people enroll in existing programs, such as the Low Income Health Plan.

“We call it the traveling circus,” Carlos said. “We’ve gone all over the state. But it’s a little different now that the exchange is open.”

The Endowment has worked with SEIU before, she said, “But we haven’t partnered with them up to this level.”

The Endowment has scheduled an enrollment event Nov. 23 in Coachella.

“We’re hoping for 800 to 1,000 people in Coachella, which doesn’t sound like that much except that there are only 6,000 people in that county. But there seems to be tremendous interest there,” Carlos said.

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