Covered California Director Peter Lee answers questions

Covered_California_Peter_LeeIt’s not often that you get to ask questions of a director whose organization will soon have over half a billion in annual revenue. Peter Lee, director of Covered California and arguably the largest “start up” in California’s history, answered question from anyone about the new health insurance market under the state exchange.

Covered California: a complex start up 

I’ve read everything I’ve been able to get my hands on and I still have questions. Part of the problem comes from the complexity of health insurance, federal regulations, state laws and uniqueness of each person’s employment and family situation. While the folks working on implementing Covered California have their arms wrapped around the big flow chart of “if this, then that” conditions, most of us are still scratching our heads.

Peter Lee answers questions

Mr. Lee’s open question forum was just the tip of the outreach and education efforts to get Californians up to speed. I was a little surprised that within the 11/2 hour window only 25 questions were asked. This might have been a function of publicity about the event and the slightly clumsy Reddit platform. Regardless of the reasons for the poor response, considering there are 5 million uninsured Californians that need health insurance, the questions were varied, reasonably well answer by Mr. Lee, and a good sampling of concerns about the exchange. Below is a sampling of the question and answers from the Reddit forum.

So much to absorb, so little time 

What the Q & A session represented to me was the incredible amount depth and background future Assisters and Navigators will need to properly help people make the best health insurance choice. Mr. Lee was at a disadvantage because he doesn’t know all the insurance carriers and various specific plans that will be offered to both individuals and small groups when Covered Launches in October 2013.

Fighting current confusing market place 

I have to applaud Covered California’s efforts to get ahead of the information and public relations curve without having the whole house finished yet. The health insurance market place is under going a monumental shift with health care reform. Consumers and businesses are still imprinted with all the insurance company profit maximizing rules and restrictions that make selecting, acquiring and actually using their insurance confusing.

Consequently, all consumers are a little baffled by guarantee issue, no rate ups for pre-existing conditions, tax credits for affordability and streamlined benefit summaries. All the questions asked should help Covered California gauge the level understanding and potentially help in their website development.

Will the roll out of Covered California be smooth? 

No start up or established business is ever free of a few hiccups in support or implementation. Heck, every time Face Book changes their news feed or profile page you hear howls of protests and declarations from users to abandon the service. No one should expect Covered California to have a completely glitch free roll out. But if the director can jump on a social media network and answer questions… that bodes well for the spirit and hopefully the flexibility of the program.


  • Ron

    Low or no income some money in bank own house do you still qualify as low income for Covered Ca health insurance.?

    • Kevin Knauss

      Yes. If an individual makes below $16,000 they are Medi-Cal, above that number you can receive premium assistance to lower the monthly premium.

  • Ron

    Low income some money in bank own 2000,000 house do you still qualify as low income for Covered Ca health insurance.?

    • Kevin Knauss

      Yes. There will be no asset test for either Medi-Cal or premium assistance under Covered California.

  • Ron

    Low income some money in bank own 200,000house do you still qualify as low income for Covered Ca health insurance.?

    • Kevin Knauss

      You can own a $2,000,000 house or a $200,000 abode. It is all the same…you qualify.

  • Ron

    If your taxes show you make less then 16,000 a year but you want better health care then Medi-cal can you still get discounts on your payments for a better plan?

    • Kevin Knauss

      If you expect to make more in 2014, and can provide proof of income that will amount to over $16,000 next year (current pay stub, bank account, etc), then you would be eligible for premium assistance or the tax credits to reduce your monthly health insurance premium.

  • Ron

    If you don’t want Medi-cal and opt for a better health care plan will you still some diccounts? If you make less then 16,000 a year