What's on your Christmas shopping list? Toys for the kids, slippers for grandmas; what about health care insurance?
At the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, you can find the typical holiday gifts, but next to the Hello Kitty Sanrio store is a kiosk for CoveredCa.com. That's the state's health care exchange to sign up for health insurance.
Right now, the kiosk is only open a few hours a day, but the facilitators believe the closer we get to the sign up deadline, December 23, the more people will crowd the little mall space to sign up. Baldwin Hills isn't the only shopping mall helping people to sign up for health insurance. Kaiser has set up five stores in Northern California and has plans for two more. Kaiser's agents have been certified by the state and can sign up people to their plans or any other on CoveredCA.com.
In California, the uninsured could have insurance coverage as early as January 1, through Covered California. Residents have until December 23rd to sign up for the early coverage. They still have until March 31 to sign up and still be compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
Also today, Covered California announced the opening of full self-enrollment for small businesses under ins Small business health Options online program.
Since it opened, Covered California has enrolled more than 80,000 individuals.
But now, Latino lawmakers are concerned about the insurance marketplace's method of enrolling Spanish speakers and are urging changes following the recent announcement that fewer than 1,000 Spanish speaking state residents signed up in the health law's first month.
"This is completely unacceptable," said state Sen. Norma Torres, a Democrat who represents parts of San Bernardino and eastern Los Angeles counties. "Obviously their plan for reaching this demographic is not working. They should reevaluate and come up with a new strategy."
Latinos make up about 60 percent of the state's uninsured population, and are essential to the success of Covered California.
State Sen. Holly Mitchell pushed for a Covered California store at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw mall to assist lower-income people who aren't likely to click on a website.
"There are still people who don't have access online," Mitchell said. "We want to bring health insurance to where people are naturally, and the clock is ticking on the enrollment window." Mitchell said in an interview.