Although Covered California’s third open-enrollment period ended Jan. 31, the door is not closed to uninsured Californians, who have experienced life changing events like having a baby, losing health insurance that had been provided by their job or moving or moving permanently to California.
“Over the past two years, I’ve witnessed numerous patients who went years without properly treating health issues and seen them resolve it through the coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Stan Frencher, the medical director of surgical outcomes and quality at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles.
Frencher says the value in having health insurance is huge. And, while the window closed in January to enroll for coverage in 2016, thousands are finding they’re eligible to still enroll. Some of the most common life changing events that make consumers eligible for enrollment year round are:
Enrollment must take place within 60 days of the life event. The majority of consumers enrolled in plans through Covered California also receive significant financial help to lower their monthly premiums.
It’s especially important that African American communities learn about this option as 14 percent of California’s uninsured are African American.
Additionally, African Americans face many health challenges, ranking at or near the top in conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The federal health reform law was a monumental step in providing quality health care to all Americans, not just those who could afford it,” said Frencher
He has seen the cases supporting data that show African American women have the highest death rate from breast cancer; that African Americans’ are nearly twice as likely to have a first stroke than whites. And, in 2010, roughly 4.9 million, or 18.7 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 years or older, had diabetes.
For special enrollment after a qualifying life event, consumers can enroll online at CoveredCA.com or call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.