Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace, has teamed with Black and African-American health leaders to help and encourage communities of color to take advantage of open enrollment and find a high-quality, affordable health insurance plan.

“A core part of Covered California’s mission is to improve health care quality and reduce the disparities that have plagued our communities of color for far too long,” said Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California, in a news release. “One way to lower disparities, is to make sure that everyone has access to quality health care coverage, and those that need health insurance can do that now through Covered California’s open enrollment.”

Individuals from the California Black Women’s Health Project, Charles R. Drew University, the Los Angeles NAACP, the California Black Health Network and Kedren Health met November 29 at Inglewood’s Center of Hope Church to discuss inequities in health care access and ways to encourage people to enroll in a health plan.

“Health care should be a right and not a privilege,” said Rhonda Smith of the California Black Health Network in the news release. “Being able to have low-cost but high-quality health care is an important first step in addressing health equity.”

Covered California helps people navigate and compare health insurance plans to find the most affordable and high-quality insurance. Since its inception, 1.7 million people have enrolled in Covered California. This includes a 46% increase in the number of Black and African-American consumers. What’s more, the uninsured rate among these groups fell from 12.4% in 2013 to 4% in 2021, according to the California Health Insurance Survey.

“We partnered with Covered California to make sure that everyone in our community has access to resources to keep them safe, especially throughout the pandemic,” said Jerry Abraham, MD, MPH, of Kedren Health. “Meeting our Black community and our African-American community where they are is going to make fundamental and seismic shifts toward achieving that health equity and racial justice that our communities here in California deserve.”