WellSpace Health's eight medical centers have been expecting the newly insured patients.
“A couple of people a day are coming and saying, look, I’ve got health care coverage."
~Jonathan Porteus, CEO of WellSpace Health
Porteus says its clinics are preparing for a 25 percent surge in patient visits under the federal health law. So the health centers are staffing up this month.
“We will see expanded hours in our Rancho Cordova health center, we’re probably going to try adding Saturday hours in our south valley center down in South Sacramento, and we’re also expanding our provider hours in a number of sites,” says Porteus.
Sacramento-area Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health are seeing more patients right now, but they attribute that increased cases of the flu.
In 22 Northern California counties, some health insurance customers have only one choice of insurer in Covered California. We go to a rural community north of Quincy to find out what that's like.
Blue Shield of California stopped selling policies to individuals in 250 zip codes in 2014. The coverage area reduction is especially felt in Northern California, where consumers have few choices through Covered California.
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.