A Message from Bishop Soto…
My Dear Parishioners,
Out of his pastoral concern, Bishop Soto asked me to share the following with you. Have a Blessed New Year!
– Father Jeremy Leatherby, Pastor
To: Priests and Deacons
From: Bishop Jaime Soto
Date: December 10, 2014
Subject: Open Enrollment: Abortion Coverage in California State Health Exchange
A year ago, I sent information to assist you in responding to parishioners’ questions about registering for the health insurance program in California, called “Covered California,” part of the Affordable Care Act.
The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. Those who have insurance will be asked to re-commit to their present insurer or to move to a new provider before mid-February. I thought it prudent to update the information from last year for the benefit of you and your parishioners.
It is a helpful service to remind people of their legal obligation to register for health insurance and to advise them of the moral questions they face in choosing a health care program for themselves and their families.
1. All Californians are required to sign up for some form of health plan by February 15, 2015. If you haven’t enrolled by then, you will be unable to purchase coverage until the next Open Enrollment period.
2. Access to good health care for our families promotes human dignity and serves the common good of society. Abortion is not good health care. Catholics should not utilize abortion services or other morally objectionable services that may be included in insurance plans.
3. Every state is required to offer at least one plan that does not cover elective abortions. In California, that plan is offered by Anthem Blue Cross. There are two Blue Cross options available in our diocesan area that do not provide abortion coverage: Silver 70 PPO and Gold 80 PPO.
4. We have been told that while these plans are available, you may have to be very persistent to be able to register for one of these plans. If you need assistance in registering for health insurance, you may call GFBB Benefits at 916 740 2400.
5. If it is discovered that you or your family does not have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee that is 2% or your income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (whichever is more).
6. While undocumented immigrants may not be eligible for all services, US born children are eligible and can be registered for Medi-Cal. Sacramento ACT and Placer People of Faith Together have been providing workshops in parishes to register eligible children for insurance. Sacramento ACT personnel can be reached at 916 447 7959. Placer People of Faith Together number is 530 401 3768
7. If you have questions about any of this, you can contact Rich Fowler at 916 733 0262.