The LA Times reports:
Nearly every day, worried Californians call a Pacoima hotline asking what lies ahead in healthcare reform: Do I have to get private insurance? Will I lose my Medi-Cal? How much will it cost? When does it start?
"There's mass confusion already," said Katie Murphy, managing attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, which runs the call line.
With the presidential election over and the nation's healthcare overhaul moving forward, California officials have less than a year to clear up widespread uncertainty about future medical coverage options.
"We are in our countdown period," said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state's new health insurance marketplace that opens in October 2013.
Under the federal law, the state-run exchange aims to fundamentally reshape the health insurance market by negotiating with insurers for the best rates and assisting consumers in choosing a plan. The exchange must also help millions of Californians figure out whether they qualify for an expansion of Medicaid, the government insurance for the poor, or federally subsidized private coverage.