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Monday, November 11, 2013

Worried About Costs And Unaware of Help, Californians Head Into New Era of Health Coverage

Today's post was shared by Kaiser Health News and comes from www.kaiserhealthnews.org
As uninsured Californians head into a new era of health coverage, they're worried about costs and unaware of the help they'll get from the government, a new survey finds.
The survey, by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that three out of four Californians who earn modest incomes and could buy government-subsidized private coverage believe, wrongly, that they're not eligible for federal assistance or they simply don't know if they qualify.
In addition, many undocumented immigrants, who comprise about a fifth of the state's uninsured population, erroneously believe they will be eligible for coverage. The law specifically bars them from getting coverage from the state's new health insurance exchange, which opens Oct. 1, for coverage beginning Jan.1, 2014.
"This has been, for so long, a political debate," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a Sacramento-based consumer advocacy group. "We're just starting to move it into a practical reality. Now that the benefits are close at hand, there is a concerted effort to educate people about what their benefits are."
California is one of two dozen states preparing to dramatically expand Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor, yet the survey found only half of newly eligible low-income Californians presume they will qualify. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed some 2,000 uninsured Californians from mid-July until the end of August, a summertime lull before a burst of...
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