CA Legislators Should Test Drive CoveredCA

We find ourselves amazed that few state legislators and their staffs know about CoveredCA. They should take a test spin, which takes less than a minute. Eg, say you are a 53 year old retired prison guard with a $90,000 annual pension who lives in Sacramento with a spouse age 53 and two kids ages 15 and 13. Input that info at the Shop and Compare page and after a few clicks you’ll be presented with 24 plans and estimated savings of $1,461.15 per month. Or say you are a 63 year old retired legislative staffer with a $60,000 pension and a spouse of the same age: Estimated savings of $1,776 per month.

CoveredCA is able to supply such savings primarily because of federal funds under the Affordable Care Act and to a lesser extent the California State Subsidy. Yet retired state employees and their dependents don’t use CoveredCA. Instead, they get insurance under a separate program that’s entirely state funded at an expense to the General Fund of nearly $5 billion per year. (To put that figure into perspective, it’s 2.5x the amount annually appropriated to the Judicial Branch.) Employees retired from local governments, schools and transit and other agencies also don’t use CoveredCA and cost another $5 billion per year. That makes no sense. The CA Legislature must fix that this year.

CoveredCA is a marvel. Use it.

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California

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