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Bay Area Family Satisfied With Covered California, Location May Play Role

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Julie-Watts_BIO-HEAD Julie Watts
The recipient of the Emmy and AP Awards for Best Reporter, Julie’s...
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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — For months, KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch has investigated dozens of complaints from people on Covered California. A Contra Costa County family describes their positive experience on the insurance exchange.

Justin Davis is a Contra Costa County resident who has been frustrated by media reports, including ours, focused on the problems plaguing Covered California.

“Everything in the media is just about how bad the affordable health care system is,” said Davis.

More On Covered California Issues:

KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch has reported on inaccurate provider directories, shortage of doctors, and on customers who are unable to get an appointment with a doctor.

“But for us it’s just been terrific. We have the same doctors, the same hospital and we’re saving a lot of money,” Davis said.

Frustrated, Davis contacted KPIX 5, asking that we also report on how Covered California is working.

“We can’t ignore the problems, and I think you serve a really good purpose that way. But I thought it was time to tell somebody that we’re having a good experience with it. And they’re not paying me to say this,” he said.

Davis said he hasn’t seen any of the problems such as missing insurance cards and long waits for appointments. His copays have gone up, but Davis said he is saving $1,000 a month on health insurance premiums.

“Many, I would tell you are expressing their gratitude about having health care coverage because it has literally saved their lives,” said Covered California spokesperson Dana Howard.

Davis agreed and said he’s had no problem finding a doctor and in fact, they actually got keep their doctor.

In the Davis’ case, location may have played a role. Contra Costa County accounts for only 3 percent of all Bay Area doctor-related complaints. Meanwhile 71 percent of those complaints are concentrated in several Covered California regions that include Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Alameda and Santa Clara counties.

Those areas also happen to have the highest number of low-income Medi-Cal patients. Doctors have said that the more Medi-Cal patients they treat, the fewer Covered California patients they will accept because of low reimbursement rates.

“In some areas around California, you are going to have hot spots. But that is something that Covered California is committed to resolve. And we are working with the plans diligently to say, ‘look you’ve got to bring in more physicians,’” Howard said.

While Davis sympathizes with those who’ve experience problems, he just wants to share that for everyone one of them, there’s at least one of him.

“There are problems any time you set up a major system. But if you look at the number of complaints compared to the number of people covered by it,” said Davis.

In Contra Costa County, there are two major medical groups with lots of doctors that account for most of the enrollees. Kaiser, which is an HMO, has all of its doctor’s in-network. John Muir, where the Davis’ go, advertised early on that it would be accepting plans purchased on Covered California.

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