One of the first changes consumers and agents will notice is under the information for household members. For the question of Sex (which should be gender), in addition to Male and Female, the drop down box will include Transgender: Male to Female and Transgender: Female to Male. While selecting the Sex is required, the Covered California application does not alert the consumer to the fact that rates are not based on gender AND you cannot be denied health insurance or receive a higher rate because you are transgender.
Covered California has released new Job Aids that review and describe some of the changes they have made to their online enrollment application. Many of the new functions address deficiencies in the original software, other features to help consumers more easily report changes, and the new addition of enrolling in a family dental plan.
A pregnant Bay Area woman who applied for health insurance through Covered California in November and has yet to receive any notification from her selected health plan or Covered California must now consider cancelling her prenatal doctor visits for lack of insurance. When asked about the status of the woman’s application a Covered California call center staffer said that it can take weeks for the insurance companies to receive the application. Essentially, Covered California has decided to ignore the woman, her family and unborn baby.
Compared to existing small group quoting and enrollment systems from the insurers and the Cal Choice private exchange, the Covered California SHOP program seems a little clunky and unfinished. If an employer wants to realize the tax credits for contributing to employee health insurance premiums they have to have a small group plan through Covered California. Except for the option to purchase pediatric dental plans for dependent children, SHOP offers no adult dental or vision insurance.
Will the new healthcare reform insurance application (aka Obamacare) become a bureaucratic paperwork nightmare?