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By Kathleen Alexander                Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                                       Facebook    Twitter         Blog    
March 4, 2014                           
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 Covered California logo


If you are a legal resident and you do not have health insurance, then you need to enroll in Covered California before Monday, March 31, 2014 or pay a penalty.

The penalty starts at $95 or 1% of your income whichever is greater.

Why health coverage matters
Think about it. You are willing to insure your car because you know accidents happen and you don’t want to be hit with a huge repair bill. Your body is a lot more valuable than your car. You need health coverage not just to cover costs in the event of illness or accident, but to keep you “tuned up” with preventive care. Besides, you may be eligible for federal financial assistance to cover your health insurance!

How Covered California can help you.
As required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), California set up a health insurance exchange called Covered California that allows you to shop and compare qualified health insurance plans. It will show you what the costs are for different levels of coverage – Catastrophic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum,—and how much each plan will cost you, based on your income and the level of coverage you choose.

What the Affordable Care Act Guarantees.
Each Covered California health insurance plan has to provide you with essential levels of coverage and consumer protections that are required by the Affordable Care Act.

And that’s a good thing because in the past, insurance companies could exclude sick people, kick people off of health plans, or find ways to limit the services you could receive.

The new ACA qualified insurance plans cannot deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition and what is more, they must cover preventive care, family planning and medical screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies without charging copayments or deductibles
for these services.

Why Covered California needs your financial information.
By providing information about your income, Covered California can determine whether you qualify for Medi-Cal (income less than 138% of Federal Poverty Level –which, for 1 person would be less than $15,856.).
If you are not eligible for Medi-Cal, then Covered California will determine if you qualify to receive premium assistance that will reduce the amount you pay monthly for your health insurance.

How can you access Covered California.
If you have a computer at home, in your search engine (Google, Yahoo, Safari, etc.) type in www.CoveredCalifornia.org. Follow the prompts and type in your personal information.

You will be asked to provide your income and number of members of your household. This is important. Very important: To fill out the application online, you will need to have an electronic (scanned) copy of your tax information or monthly income.

Or, you can take advantage of the fact that Ravenswood Family Health Center is a Certified Enrollment site with 8 trained enrollment counselors and 5 self-service computer stations and a scanner set up in Center for Health Promotion where you can scan your documents and go online and enroll yourself. An enrollment vounselor will be available to answer your questions.

Call (650) 330-7416 to make an appointment to come in. Make sure you bring with you the required documents to verify your income, citizenship and residency that need to be scanned and submitted with your application.

This includes your social security numbers, proof of citizenship or immigration status, employer and income information of everyone in your family, and federal tax information.

Take advantage of this opportunity to make sure you and your family are covered.

Kathleen Alexander is the director of communications and public relations for the Ravenswood Family Health Center. She can be reached by email at kalexander@ravenswoodfhc.org.


East Palo Alto Today Resources:

Talking with Henrietta - The Affordable Care Act: Where Is It Working? - See video excerpt on YouTube at http://youtu.be/EaUskEut28M