Phone lines were jammed and the website slowed by heavy traffic, but the state’s new health insurance exchange, Covered California, is open for business.
It started enrolling people at its call centers and on its website at 8:00 Tuesday morning.
The Covered California executive director and other state officials kicked off the first of six events around the state with a countdown. The opening of the exchange is allowing the millions of Californians who don’t receive health insurance through their employers or who are eligible for Medi-Cal to enroll in health insurance. The affordable care act mandates that all Americans carry health insurance beginning next year.
“Gone are the days of invasive questions when you apply for insurance about your allergies, your asthma, your diabetes, your cancer. Gone,” said the program’s executive director Peter Lee.
“You’re never going to be asked that again. Gone are rates based on your answers to those questions. Gone are the days of being denied coverage because of your answers and gone is the day when after you got insurance you were surprised when the coverage wasn’t there when you needed it.”
Covered California offers access to a dozen insurance companies, each with a number of different plans. If you have questions about eligibility, plans, rates or to enroll you can go to the Covered California website, www.coveredca.com, or give them a call at 800-300-1506.