Open enrollment for California’s health insurance exchange begins in October and runs through March. But the work is already beginning to make sure San Diegans know their coverage options.
Covered California, the state-run exchange, awarded local nonprofit SAY San Diego $500,000 to help residents sign up for new health policies offered under the Affordable Care Act.
The health reform law says all Americans must be insured by tax time next year or face a penalty – 1 percent of their annual income or $95, whichever is higher. The penalty will increase to a 2.5 percent income cut or $695 in 2016.
SAY Service Director Kevin O’Neill says outreach workers will fan out across the county with iPads to get people connected to exchange caseworkers. He says they’ll pay particular attention to areas where language barriers and low incomes make for a steep learning curve.
“On a grassroots level, especially in areas like City Heights and southeastern San Diego, we’re really looking at opportunities to partner with our schools,” O’Neill said. “We’re getting out to where families are at.”