Members of Covered California's board of directors also questioned whether spending millions of dollars to ramp up a marketing campaign was the right approach while systemic problems persist with the health exchange.
At the board's meeting yesterday, consumer advocacy groups and insurance agents cited continued long wait times on the exchange's telephone call centers. They say there are numerous problems with the online enrollment site and multi-week lag times in getting paperwork to insurance companies.
Sen. Norma Torres, speaking on behalf of the legislative Latino Caucus, said Latinos face numerous obstacles to enrolling, but marketing is not one.
Blue Shield of California is a major insurer through Covered California. But in Northern California, the insurer is not selling individual policies in many regions where it was just last year.
Anthem Blue Cross, the largest insurer in Covered California's Northern California region, ended an out-of-state benefit for individual planholders this year. Blue Shield of California plans in the region also restrict care to within state lines.
The open enrollment period for Covered California began less than a month ago. But the pace of applications and enrollments has already exceeded last year.
California offers several services for both documented and undocumented immigrants. But fears about deportation deter many people from taking advantage of the benefits offered to them.
Covered California says this year’s early health insurance enrollment is looking more promising than last year’s.