CalNonprofits Articles

graphic of calendarOn Tuesday, March 18, we held our first California Policy Forum of the year and got some important updates on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Our moderator, Richard Thomason of the Blue Shield of California Foundation, reminded us that “the Affordable Care Act is one of the most complex undertakings that has ever been attempted by state and federal government.” Panelists Cynthia Cox of the Kaiser Family Foundation, Richard Figueroa of the California Endowment and Kathy Ko Chin of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum painted the picture of its complexity nationally, statewide and on the local grassroots level.

Based on their presentations and conversations, here's what we learned:

·       Public opinion nationally remains more negative than positive (47% unfavorable vs. 35% favorable), with most uninsured people are still largely unaware of ACA.
·       23 states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs after the Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of receiving Federal funds leaving 15 million people uninsured or underinsured.
·       Although California exceeds its enrollment projections prior to the deadline, there is a significant lack of parity among different populations and regions across the state.
·       In California, only 65% of African-Americans and 45% of Latinos have enrolled so far, way below expected projections after the ACA rollout.
·       After the initial enrollment period, 3 million Californians will still be uninsured including 800,000 unauthorized or undocumented residents.
·       Fear of deportation has had a chilling effect on the many families having mixed immigration status.

Going forward all eyes will be on California and nonprofits will have a major role to play.
·       With unequal access to ACA, we must continue to advocate for a robust safety net including access to emergency rooms and increased funding for community health centers, public hospitals, county indigent health centers and public health programs.
·       Community-based organizations that helped people with enrollment will need support to build their capacity to serve limited English proficient consumers.
·       We must help develop “Health Literacy” so that “Young Invincibles” and those who have never been enrolled understand health insurance.
·       Civil rights partners will work on enforcing of civil rights provision on language access and immigration status.
·       We need a public education campaign on the necessity for at least preventive services for everyone in California.

If you or anyone you know need health coverage, click on the latest Covered California press release to learn about the application deadline and instructions on how to enroll. Additionally, CalNonprofits Insurance Services (CIS) participates in the enrollment assistance process to dependents and uninsured employees of existing CIS clients. Contact CIS for more information.

Remember that the last day to enroll in a Covered California individual plan is today,March 31, 2014; if you miss that deadline you'll have to wait until November. (Note that this is the open enrollment deadline for individuals, not employers.)

The California Policy Forum is a series of webinars presented this year in partnership by CalNonprofits and California Philanthropy (a Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Southern California Grantmakers collaboration). Click here to access a copy of our past webinars including the forum on the Affordable Care Act.


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