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Insight offered to Covered California

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POSTED November 15, 2013 1:13 a.m.

Carrie Rogers tried to learn as much as possible about the New Affordable Care Act.

“What’s affordable for one person may not be affordable to another,” said the Manteca resident.

Rogers was among the dozen or so in attendance at Thursday’s “The Affordable Care Act & You” presentation sponsored by Doctors Hospital of Manteca.

The Q&A session featuring Covered California – in partnership with the Department of Health Care Services, sharing a goal of providing quality health care coverage to all despite a pre-existing condition – was held at the Manteca Transit Station, which opened in July.

“We now have this room for the community to meet,” said Joe Kriskovich, who is the City of Manteca’s Director of Administrative Services.

Tomas Morales Rebecchi indicated that the state is fortunate to have Covered California as the coordinator for the Affordable Health Care Act.

“We already have 35,000 signed up and expecting 60,000 by the end of the month,” said Rebecchi, who handles community outreach for Doctors Hospital.  “And, unlike at the federal level, we’ve no problem with our state website (www.coveredCA.com).”

Doctors Hospital CEO Nicholas Tejeda, for one, is behind the Affordable Health Care Act.

“I think hospitals support this law,” he said. “We have people who need hospital care but do not have insurance.”

Stuck with astronomical hospital bills, Tejeda noted that these cases often lead to folks filing for bankruptcy.

But he’s more about the compassion and humanity.

“In 2009, when this legislation was created, cost for medical was going up and we had 45 million who were uninsured while the economy was tanking. Something had to be done,” Tejeda said.

As the Health Education and Outreach Coordinator for Community Medical Center in Stockton, Sandra Beddawi was on hand to provide her first public presentation on behalf of Covered California.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, every American, under the Affordable Care Act, will be required to get health care coverage.

She said that Covered California is doing its part as coordinator for that mandate by working with health care providers such as Anthem, HealthNet, Kaiser, and Blue Shield of California.

“There’s no denial for those with a pre-existing medical condition,” Beddawi said.

She indicated that Covered California offers folks to shop around by providing 12 health insurers in which to choose coupled with five available dental plans.

Rates may vary, depending on one’s age, zip code, household size and household income.

Take a 27-year-old man from Riverside who makes $31,000 per year with no dependents. Beddawi pointed out that he would have six health plan options and could pay anywhere from $204 to $248 per month based on a certain package.

A family of four living in the same area – he’s 42 and she’s 40 – with a combined income of $58,000 per year, under the Silver package, could pay $361 to $472 per month. “With a Bronze package, those rates are even lower,” Beddawi said.

More sessions are planned in Manteca, according to Rebecchi.

He and others went door to door to inform folks about this first session. They’ll do likewise for upcoming ones.

“It’s important for people to try to get as much information as possible (from the Q&A sessions) and then set up an appointment,” Rebecchi said.

Rogers did just that.

She’s unemployed, having recently moved back to Manteca. “My idea of affordable is free,” said Rogers.

But it wasn’t until she met Carol Stells, a volunteer for Blue Shield of California, did she finally get her answer.

Stells directed Rogers to Medi-Cal for her health services.

For more information on Covered California, log on to www.coveredCA.com or call 888-975-1142.

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