Three announcements today from the state’s Affordable Care Act-mandated health insurance exchange, Covered California (coveredca.com) require the attention of all library staff providing accurate and authoritative information to their communities: 1. When the website for the exchange comes back online Monday morning, November 25 (It was previously announced and noted here that the site will be down for an upgrade from Friday night, November 22, until early Monday morning), the agency will also have a new phone hotline to help with complicated consumer questions. The number will be 885-857-0445, and will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm. 2. The Covered California Board of Directors made a regulatory decision at today’s meeting that, unlike the federal marketplace, Covered California will abide by the original decision to find non-compliant health insurance plans to fail to meet the standard for coverage criteria as originally decided, that is, as of December 31. You can read that press release here. In yet another press release today, a detailed report of enrollments since October 1 has been published. This report supplies not only week to week figures since October 1, but informative breakdowns by subsidy eligibility status, language use for enrollment, and enrollment by geographical area and insurance provider within the state. The uptick in enrollment numbers across the past couple of weeks suggest that inquiries at libraries will also be increasing. Especially with the news that non-compliant plans will not meet the state standard, it may well be time to evaluate your library’s approach to disseminating information about the law and consider active partnerships to address community enrollment needs.
All of this newsbreaking serves as a reminder that California libraries must ensure that they keep abreast of authoritative breaking news from the state’s health insurance exchange. Who on staff is monitoring Covered California’s Twitter feed? How is news that comes via emailed press releases distributed in a timely manner to staff so that the public can be correctly informed? Has your library’s homepage included a link to Covered California’s News feed?