Spanish-Language Enrollment Application Form Now Available on Covered California Website
Covered California™ and the California Department of Health Care Services have introduced a Spanish-language enrollment application form, providing another path for residents to obtain quality, affordable health insurance.
The application, available now under the “Coverage” tab at www.CoveredCA.com, can be printed and completed in paper form.
“It’s vital that Covered California and the Department of Health Care Services reach consumers who may speak other languages, including Spanish,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Over the next three months, we will build on our already considerable efforts to make sure Spanish-speaking consumers enroll in coverage and protect their families.”
“More than 2.5 million Medi-Cal members speak Spanish as their primary language,” said California Department of Health Care Services Director Toby Douglas. “This new application form will help ensure that we continue to make Medi-Cal’s quality health care services readily available to all who are eligible.”
An estimated 5.3 million Californians are eligible to apply for health insurance through Covered California. About 2.6 million residents in that total are eligible for financial assistance to help them pay for coverage.
Latinos represent about 46 percent of those eligible for financial assistance to purchase insurance through Covered California, which has an ongoing outreach, education and enrollment campaign to serve them. Covered California also reaches out to this important community through social media, including daily interactions via Facebook and Twitter.
Covered California has nearly 3,000 trained Certified Enrollment Counselors to help residents enroll. About 60 percent of those counselors speak Spanish.
More than 9,300 licensed Certified Insurance Agents (12 percent of whom are Spanish speakers) are available statewide to enroll residents. Also, more than 10,000 county eligibility workers (many of whom are bilingual) are available to help.
Finally, approximately 10 percent of Covered California’s 481 Service Center representatives are certified by the state to provide services in Spanish and assist consumers over the phone. As Covered California works to increase its number of Spanish-speaking representatives, it also utilizes an interpreter service when the volume of Spanish-speaking callers exceeds the capacity of the dedicated staff. The Covered California Service Center handles calls statewide in dozens of languages.
“The Spanish application is a good tool for Spanish speakers to use as they think through the important decision they are being asked to make to obtain health insurance, but we believe many will want in-person assistance from Certified Enrollment Counselors, licensed agents and county staff to complete the process,” Lee said. “We are excited that we have so many Spanish-speaking people now available to help consumers complete their applications face to face.”
Spanish-speaking consumers also may visit the Spanish-language version of the website at www.CoveredCA.com/espanol, which provides an online application process in Spanish. Local Spanish-speaking assistance can be found by clicking on the “Encuentre Ayuda” button on the Spanish-language website or the “Find Help Near You” button at www.CoveredCA.com. Finally, consumers can reach a Spanish-speaking Service Center representative by calling (800) 300-0213.
Besides English and Spanish, the printable application also is available in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.
Consumers have until March 31, 2014 to enroll for health insurance.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.
About the Department of Health Care Services
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) works to preserve and improve the physical and mental health of all Californians. DHCS provides health care services for more than 8.5 million Californians through Medi-Cal, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services and long-term services and supports. This is accomplished through an investment of approximately $70 billion annually in public funds for the care of low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and persons with disabilities. DHCS focuses on delivering quality, effective services primarily through the more coordinated systems of care provided by 21 Medi-Cal managed care plans located in all of California’s 58 counties. For more information about DHCS, please visit www.dhcs.ca.gov.