Covered California is offering those Californians, who have been impacted by the wildfires, COVID-19 or lost their jobs during the recession, eligibility to sign up for coverage in a special enrollment period.
"In an effort to help Californians who have been impacted by the wildfires burning across the state, and to build on the help provided to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recession, Covered California announced the establishment of new paths to coverage during the current special-enrollment period," the organization announced Monday.
Earlier this month. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a state of emergency due to the wildfires.
California is reporting that on Aug. 22, there were 6,777 newly recorded confirmed cases. The state now has a total of 663,669 positive cases. There have been a total of 12,134 deaths in the state.
"Right now, many Californians face a triple threat, with hundreds of wildfires burning during a pandemic and recession, and Covered California wants to make sure they have access to the health care they need,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, in a press release. “Providing these paths to coverage will ensure that those who have lost jobs, suffered a loss of income, or have been affected by wildfires have an opportunity to get health care coverage, whether it is through Covered California or Medi-Cal.”
There are more than a dozen major wildfires burning across the state and two major fires burning in the Bay Area.
"California over the last week has been hit by 650 wildfires across the state, many sparked by more than 12,000 lighting strikes recorded since Aug., 15. There are 14,000 firefighters. 2,400 engines and 95 aircraft battling the fires," an Associated Press story from Monday reports.
Covered California said in a press release:
"Covered California initially responded to the COVID-19 emergency by opening the health insurance exchange from March 20 to Aug. 31 to any eligible uninsured individuals who needed health care coverage. With that special-enrollment period expiring at the end of the month, the new qualifying life events will continue to help consumers sign up for health care coverage during this turbulent time.
The most recent data shows that 271,820 people signed up through Covered California for health care coverage between March 20 and Aug. 20, which is more than twice the number who signed up during the same time last year."