Key Dates and Information to Be Prepared for the Covered California Health Insurance Exchange!

Today, you are not required to purchase medical insurance. Effective January 1st, 2014 you will be required to purchase a medical insurance plan that is compliant with the federally mandated affordable healthcare act, or you will pay a penalty. It is important to understand your California Health Insurance options, in order to plan ahead. On October 1, 2013, the Covered California Exchange will open and be accepting applications. A financial application will be required to confirm if you are eligible for subsidy and a health insurance application with establish your choice of health plan.

1. Mark Your Calendar for October 1, 2013

In California, 3-5 million people are expected to purchase their health insurance plans through the Covered California Insurance Exchange. Many others will be shopping, calling resources and asking many questions about the coverage, subsidies and premiums. The demand and volume is expected to be very high as the open enrollment period begins on October 1st, 2013, and ends March 31st, 2014. At the end of the open enrollment period, you are locked into your health care plan election. Do not wait until the last minute as every Broker, Insurance Agency and Covered California Navigator will be stretched thin. Start the process early in the open enrollment period to be sure you have the time to make the right decision and connect with the right broker who can answer your questions.

2. Find an insurance agent now who will educate, guide and support you.

Find an insurance representative who is easy to understand and who will personally help you stay abreast of the Health Care Reform news in your state. is one of these resources.

3. Brokers and Agents:

Brokers and Agents are required to pass a state certification to be eligible to provide quotes and assistance in the Covered California Exchange market. Once certified an agent or broker will help you find the right plan and answer your questions. Brokers and Agents have a wholesale relationship in the exchange. This means you do not pay any commissions or fees by purchasing through a broker. The insurance carriers pay commissions to brokers and agents. Most of them have been reading, researching and educating themselves about the changes to the laws due to health care reform and how they will impact you, the consumer. With a comprehensive understanding of the changes in the health care laws and the health insurance policies, they will provide education and guidance and help you both in and out of the CA insurance exchange.

4. Doctors and Providers:

There is a big concern that some or many doctors or providers will not accept the exchange plans. Their reimbursements rates have been declining and the trend is that this will continue. As fewer and fewer general family doctors accepts government sponsored plans like Medicaid and Medicare in California there is a fear that access to doctors will become more difficult. Talk to your doctor and ask him or her if she plans to participate in the Covered California Exchange.