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Home is Where the Coverage Starts: Covered California Inland Empire Bus Tour

Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) was invited to once again participate in the Covered California bus tour during this third (!) open enrollment season. Several ITUP employees have decided to hop on the bus to spread the word about Covered California, its new plan carriers, and new family dental options. Marina Acosta, ITUP’s Research Director, retells her experience:

I had the opportunity to ride along on the Inland Empire leg of the tour, starting at the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce. Increased health care access enabled by Covered California plans are apparent from a story told by Dr. Denise Fleming of the Moreno Valley Unified School District. Dr. Fleming recounted a story in which a child suffering from pain in the mouth was discovered by the school’s principal and was then taken to a dentist a block from the child’s house. Due to the child’s dental coverage from his Covered California plan, access to a dentist was provided, ultimately addressing the issue. Luckily, the child’s school was involved and helped the student get needed care. This story highlights how the child may have been left to cope with the pain before Covered California, but instead the child was covered and care was provided.

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The bus also stopped at HealthStar Insurance Services in Ontario, California. Covered California has emphasized that in order to get the remaining eligible Californians insured (an estimated 2.2 million for Covered California and Medi-Cal) the work (and spark) starts at the community level. This was surely the case at HealthStar Insurance Services. Here, one of the certified enrollment counselors brought her daughter to the day’s bus tour/enrollment affair. Said Mom was setting as an example for her daughter on the importance of spreading the word about health care coverage to their fellow-neighbors and, assisting them in choosing the best plan for their families – evident was this family’s value of helping ones neighbor. Having grown up in the Inland Empire myself, I took pride in seeing my community truly invested in spreading the word about the importance of getting coverage and being healthy.

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The day was filled with lots of photo-ops and very important state and community representatives such as Covered California’s Executive Director, Peter Lee, Assemblyman Jose Medina and the Mayor of Pomona, Elliott Rothman. However, the richer part of the tour (for me) came from the hidden stories of the Covered California community enrollers, enrollees and residents just interested in seeking information about Covered California. Covered California has a big feat in front of them in insuring the remaining uninsured, but what was  pointed out on the bus tour was how schools, communities, and really, the home are where coverage starts.

For more information about the bus tour stops, click here, and more information about Covered California, click here.