Covered California
Covered California.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Covered California is expanding its special enrollment period through June 30 to help anyone uninsured and eligible to obtain health coverage because of job loss or other qualifying life events.

The action builds upon Covered California’s special enrollment period that took effect in January, to help consumers who didn’t know about tax penalties for not having health insurance, or weren’t aware of the new state subsidy program and financial help available to pay their monthly health care costs.

“The goal is to have as many people covered as possible to ensure they have access to vitally needed health care,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “This is the right thing to do and we to make sure no one is left behind in California during this pandemic.”

Those signing up through Covered California will have access to private health insurance plans with monthly premiums that may be lowered due to federal subsidies and new state financial help that became effective in 2020. Once a plan is chosen, coverage begins on the first of the following month, meaning individuals losing job-based coverage will not face a gap in coverage.

Individuals who sign up through may find out that they are eligible for no-cost or low-cost coverage through Medi-Cal, for which they can enroll online year-round. Those eligible for Medi-Cal can have coverage that is immediately effective, because California has put a 90-day hold on Medi-Cal renewal reviews, ensuring those already enrolled can continue their coverage and freeing up resources to quickly process the expected new enrollments.

All medically-necessary screening and testing for COVID-19 is free of charge, including telehealth or doctor’s office visits,  network emergency room or urgent care visits, when necessary for the purpose of screening and testing for the virus. In addition, Medi-Cal covers costs associated with COVID-19 in both its managed care plans and with fee-for-service providers.

Covered California health plans will help cover costs that arise from any required treatment or hospitalization.

In addition, all health plans offered through Covered California and by Medi-Cal will provide telehealth options for enrollees, giving individuals the ability to connect with a health care professional by phone or video without having to personally visit a doctor’s office or hospital.

People can easily find out if they are eligible Medi-Cal or other forms of financial help and see which plans are available in their area by using the CoveredCA.Com Shop and Compare Tool and entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of those who need coverage.

To enroll in Covered California or Medi-Cal health plans, visit Free and confidential assistance is available over the phone, in a variety of languages, from a certified enroller, by calling Call Covered California at 1-800-300-1506.

— City News Service