Tag Archives: Covered California

Lessons from Covered California: Marketing matters

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

At 3 pm ET on Thursday, Oct. 12, Victoria Colliver of Politico will lead a conversation with Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, about lessons learned during the first years of enrollment in the ACA exchange. They’ll also discuss how the exchange is adapting to the changed political climate for health care in the Trump administration.

HHS recently announced that it would slash marketing, advertising, and signup assistance for the 2018 signup season, which begins Nov. 1. That the administration was reducing outreach should not have been a surprise, given that as soon as President Trump took office, his HHS leadership team pulled back on advertising and marketing during the critical final days of the 2017 signup season.

Spending on marketing and advertising for the 2018 plan year will drop from $100 million spent on 2017 sign-ups to $10 million. Funding for consumer helpers called “navigators” will be cut 40 percent – from $62.5 million for 2017 to $36.8 million for the coming season. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for overseeing the ACA, says navigators were falling short of their sign-up targets and wasting money and asserted that “the new funding formula will ensure accountability within the Navigator program.” (For more on the administration policy, see in this Vox story.) Continue reading

California reverses course on pediatric dental coverage

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ’s topic leader on oral health and the author of “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo by courtney0609 via Flickr.

Photo by courtney0609 via Flickr

Last year about this time, we were reading about Covered California’s decision to require parents seeking pediatric dental coverage on the state’s new insurance exchange to buy separate stand-alone plans for their children.

Pediatric dental coverage was designated as one of 10 essential benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But most dental insurance is sold separately from other kinds of health insurance, and some people supported the idea of selling pediatric dental benefits separately on the state exchange. They contended that consumers who did not want or need pediatric dental benefits should not be required to buy them.

At the same time, Covered California’s plan to offer pediatric dental coverage through stand-alone plans came as a disappointment to oral health advocates. They argued that embedding dental benefits into the health care plans for sale on the state exchange would help expand children’s access to dental care and lower the costs of the benefits by distributing the burden of paying for them across a broader group of people.

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