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health


by peter v. lee


YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE WITH PAIN. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PRETEND YOU’RE FINE. YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE LIFE YOU’VE BUILT AND THE CARE YOU NEED.”


You May Be Eligible For New State Subsidies The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community knows all


BIG CHANGES COVERED CALIFORNIA


FOR


too well the pain and danger of being discriminated against when it comes to health issues.The disparities affecting the LGBTQ community are real, including around mental health and substance abuse.


When the HIV/AIDS epidemic struck in the 1980s, I found myself on the front lines in Washington, D.C., helping organize the early community-based responses and participating in protests outside the White House to urge our government to do more to help save the lives of those impacted by the crisis. Fortunately, we are in a new day. Effective treatments and


H 54


preventive therapy for HIV/AIDS are readily available now. You can’t be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition or your sexual identity. In California, it is also a new day.Covered California’s open


enrollment period is underway right now and this year features some of the biggest changes since we first began offering health care coverage in 2014. First, the state of California is putting its people first by offering new susidies that will help make health insurance even more affordable. Covered California enrollees, who are already receiving federal financial assistance, could get even more help in new state subsidies to lower their cost. For the first time, middle-income consumers may be eligible for financial help


in the form of new state subsidies that are averaging more than $500 a month per household. This is real money that’s making a real difference for people across Southern California. Since this is the first year this new money will be available, you need to check


again to see if you are eligible because now is the time to sign up for quality coverage for 2020. If you have a friend or loved one who is uninsured, tell them about the new financial help that is available. Being covered means having access to some of the best doctors and facilities in the country, which is critical to getting healthy and staying healthy.


ealth care should not have to be a fight, but when it is it’s good to know that Covered California is in your corner. Over the course of my career I have been fighting for


issues like “access to care” and “equality.” While growing up in Southern California, I was raised in a family full of doctors who taught me about fairness and compassion.


The other big change is that California restored the penalty for not having


health insurance. This is important now, because if you can afford coverage and don’t sign up during open enrollment, you could face a big fine when you pay your taxes in 2021. How do you find out if you’re eligible? It’s easy and it can be done in just a few


minutes. Log onto coveredca.com and click on the “Shop and Compare” button. Enter your ZIP code, your household income, the number of people who need to be covered and their ages, and you will see if you qualify for financial help and get a list of the options available in your area. Right now, the overwhelming majority of Covered California’s


enrollees receive some level of assistance, and on average they pay less than $130 per month for their monthly premium. Again, the new state subsidies are one of the biggest changes to Covered California since we first opened our doors, and it could pay off for you to check again. We know that many people mistakenly think they are not eligible or do not qualify, so if you need coverage, take a few minutes and find out what your situation looks like. The new state subsidies could extend to an individual making up to $74,940 and a family of four with a household income of up


to $154,500. Open enrollment runs through January 31, 2020, but you will need to sign up


by December 15 in order to have your coverage start on January 1. No matter who we are, health is the one thing that we all need. Staying healthy


or getting healthy allows us to work, to play and to care for our loved ones. Like our television ads say, “You should not have to make tough choices because you do not have health coverage. You should not have to live with pain. You should not have to pretend you’re fine. You should not have to choose between the life you’ve built and the care you need.” Health insurance allows you to get that care and we can help you pay for your


coverage. Now is the time to sign up. Peter V. Lee is the executive director of Covered California. For more information about Covered California, visit coveredca.com.


RAGE monthly | December 2019


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