The Excellence Of Covered California

At a time when criticism is leveled at CA’s government for poorly performing agencies such as the Employment Development Department, it’s important to point out excellently performing agencies such as Covered California. Now that I’m on Medicare I no longer need CC but my wife and daughter do and it is a marvel. Application and renewal are simple and this morning (just seven days into the new year) 1095-A forms have already been sent. In contrast, our son who lives in New York has to deal with New York State of Health, which turns every task into a heavy effort.

CC’s excellence makes all the more baffling the choice of elected CA officials not to require retired public employees to access CC before draining school, state, city and transit budgets for $10 billion per year of subsidies. Because public employees in CA can retire before they are eligible for Medicare (eg, prison guards and police can retire at age 50), billions of mostly-federally-funded subsidy dollars are being left on the table. Retirees aged 65 and over also take subsidies, which aren’t necessary given Medicare’s robustness. No other state — and certainly no other state with an insurance marketplace as excellent as CC’s — is so extravagant in support of retired public employees. Legislators should fix that this year.

David Crane