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Covered California health insurance exchange opens Oct. 1

September 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
How you look at your healthcare is going to change. Soon millions of Southern Californians who weren't eligible or couldn't afford health insurance can start shopping for individual plans under the state's new healthcare marketplace called Covered California.Covered California: What you need to know

Coverage for hospitalizations, emergency services, maternity and newborn care will all be mandatory under all insurance plans.

You'll see changes in mental health coverage and new services you won't have to pay out of your own pocket.

"With the Affordable Care Act, we now cover primary and secondary prevention," said Dr. Cary Presant, American Cancer Society.

And people who've been penalized due to a pre-existing medical condition will no longer be turned away.

"With Covered California and under the rules of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can't turn you away," said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee. "That's an incredibly important new rule."

Yet those who need expensive prescription drugs to treat chronic illnesses might not feel much relief because some co-pays may still be high. Some experts predict truly affordable care will still be out of these patients' reach.

"Some patients cannot afford these co-pays. These patients need a safety net," said Dr. Presant.

As for dental care, the law provides for children, but still not yet for adults.

Eyewitness News will be bringing you stories about the new health care plans all next week. And to help us kick things off there will be a phone bank on Monday during the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. news broadcasts.

You'll be able to call in with your questions and get answers from the folks at the Covered California health insurance exchange.

Covered California: What you need to know

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