09 May 2014

Suisun City, CA:  The Solano Coalition for Better Health has announced that they will hold the 8th Annual Classic for Kids Golf Tournament and Dinner on Friday, September 26, 2014, at Eagle Vines Golf Club. The funds raised will go towards supporting Solano Coalition for Better Health’s Solano Kids Insurance Program (SKIP). The Classic for Kids is the cornerstone fund raising event for this vital program. The event has raised over $1,540,000 since 2007, which the organization uses to provide critical health insurance coverage to children in Solano County who otherwise would not have coverage.  Because of this program, Solano County continues to have the lowest rate of uninsured children in the State of California.

All proceeds from the Classic for Kids stay right here in Solano County. In addition, the Solano County Board of Supervisors has once again generously approved a dollar per dollar match on funds up to $125,000 whereby making contributions to this event double in value.  Joanie Erickson, Executive Director said, “These funds will help ensure children in our local community that are most in need of assistance are linked have the health care they need. .  Data shows that children with health insurance receive more regular healthcare and have better health outcomes and their school attendance improves by 25 percent. With your support, children in Solano County that need health insurance can receive the necessary care they need.” 

The cost to provide health coverage to an uninsured child is $1,250 annually.  Solano Coalition for Better Health’s mission is to be able to connect 100% of Solano County’s children with health care and not turn anyone away. Every donation can make a difference in a child’s life.

The day-long Solano Classic for Kids provides participants with a fun and exciting organized golf tournament with various surprises on each hole at the Eagle Vines Golf Club in Napa Valley.  Golf is $175 per player and a foursome is $650. Dinner only tickets are $75 per person or a sponsored table of 8 is $700. Registration starts at 9:30am with an early lunch, and access to the driving range with a shotgun start at 11:30am.  Fees include a golfer VIP gift bag, greens fees, golf cart, lunch, live music, wine reception, silent auction, awards and dinner.

The Coalition thanks this year’s early sponsorships from The County of Solano, Eagle Vines Golf Club, Before The Movie, Kaiser Permanente, NorthBay Healthcare, Sutter Health- Sacramento Sierra Region, Vacaville Prison Outreach Program, KUIC 95.3, Vacaville Magazine, Comcast Xfinity,  Westin Verasa- Napa, Minuteman Press – Vallejoand Gold’s Gym to date. Additional corporate/business sponsorships are available now.  Call 707-330-8441 for details on golf and sponsorships.


Coalition on final push to enroll Solano residents in health care

28 March 2014

By Melissa Murphy, The Vacaville Reporter

20140328 102602_a coveredB070F_GALLERY

The deadline to sign up for health care is only three days away.

Open enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) closes Monday and the next opportunity to enroll won't be until October.

That's why Solano Coalition for Better Health is still accepting appointments, even scheduling them for Saturday. The coalition provides Covered California and other enrollment assistance free of charge at sites throughout Solano County, including Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun City, Vacaville and Vallejo. For an appointment call 800-978-7547.

"We're booked solid, so we added Saturday," said Joanie Erickson, executive director of Solano Coalition for Better Health. "We want to sit down and help people understand the documents and make the right choice that's best for them."

There is some leeway now.

Even though California is sticking to Monday's health insurance enrollment deadline, consumers will have extra time to finish their applications.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said Wednesday that people who start an application on the state's health insurance exchange by 11:59 p.m. Monday will have until April 15 to finish.

The announcement comes after the Obama administration said it would allow people additional time to sign up in certain situations.

The state's health insurance exchange is still encouraging Californians to sign up and avoid a tax penalty.

Covered California has surpassed 1 million enrollees, despite problems with its website and complaints about long wait times or unanswered calls for people seeking help through its service centers.

In Solano County, clients haven't seen that difficulty.

"It was really easy," Nicole Brownell told The Reporter last month, adding that she met a representative at the library and showed them a Pacific Gas & Electric bill, her Social Security card and a pay stub. "I just answered some questions and they did the work for me."

She added that her roommate had a similar experience signing up for health insurance through Covered California.

Brownell said she signed up for the insurance because it's now required under the Affordable Care Act and because she doesn't work enough hours at her job for the company to pay a portion of the insurance. Now, she pays $90 per month for health coverage through Kaiser Permanente.

Solano Coalition staff can also provide information and enrollment assistance for other low-cost or free health coverage options. These include Medi-Cal and Healthy Kids, in addition to Covered California options.

Because of the Medi-Cal expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act, more people than ever before are now eligible for Medi-Cal. Enrollment specialists can also help to determine eligibility for the expanded Medi-Cal.


For information on Covered California and signing up for health insurance, visit www.solanocoalition.org. To make an appointment for assistance, call (707) 863-4444. 


SKIP Receives $7100 Donation from Prisoner Outreach Program

18 March 2014

POP-2This last Thursday evening, SCBH executive director, Joanie Erickson, was invited to a presentation by the inmates of the State Prison in Vacaville where they were distributing proceeds from a recent fund raiser. The inmates participate in a group called Prisoner Outreach Program (POP). POP brings children who are at risk of being incarcerated into the prison to provide the children a glimpse of prison life, as well as mentorship and support.
Twice each year, POP also conducts a fund raiser where they bring outside food into the prison to sell to other inmates. This year, they selected Solano Coalition for Better Health's Solano Kids Insurance Program (SKIP) as one of the beneficiaries, and presented Ms. Erickson with a check for $7,100!

Solano Coalition for Better Health wishes to express our gratitude to the Prisoner Outreach Program for their generous donation which makes the work of SKIP possible.


Solano Coalition Helps Residents Sign Up for Health Insurance

06 March 2014

image001Vacaville's Nicole Brownell, with her 1-year-old dog, Twinkle, said getting healthcare through California Covered was an easy process because she ended up talking to someone face-to-face who walked her through the process.

By Melissa Murphy

Vacaville resident Nicole Brownell, 30, can remember a time when needing to see a doctor meant heading to an urgent-care center.

Without insurance, she would wait until she couldn't wait any longer and then deal with whichever doctor or nurse practitioner she got.

"When I didn't have (insurance), I didn't get to pick who I saw, it was just the luck of the draw," she said. "Now I can call and get in, when I had to wait before."

The reason for the change in her life makes headlines across the nation daily: the Affordable Care Act.

The deadline for signing up for insurance under the act is approaching.

That's why the Solano Coalition for Better Health and other organizations are encouraging those without health insurance, like Brownell, to sign up for Covered California, the state's arm of the federal program.

Brownell, 30, is one of many who have taken advantage of the service provided by Solano Coalition.

"It was really easy," she said, adding that she met a representative at the library and showed them a Pacific Gas & Electric bill, her Social Security card and a pay stub. "I just answered some questions and they did the work for me."

She added that her roommate had a similar experience signing up for health insurance through Covered California.

Brownell said she signed up for the insurance because it's now required under the Affordable Care Act and because she doesn't work enough hours at her job for the company to pay a portion of the insurance. Now, she pays $90 per month for health coverage through Kaiser Permanente.

Brownell, who has worked for Outback Steakhouse for eight years, earns a steady income, but the hours don't add up.

"You have to work 32 to 35 hours regularly," she said, in order to meet the requirements for health coverage. "That's hard to do when the restaurant doesn't open until 4 p.m."

She's had insurance in the past, but she's also lived without it for a time.

While Brownell is hesitant to talk about the government's involvement in requiring health-care coverage, she's relieved to have insurance now.

"There is an ease in knowing that I have it, just in case something happens," she said.

California, according to Solano Coalition for Better Health, is leading the way in implementing the new law by expanding health-care access with no-cost and low-cost health insurance through Medi-Cal and Covered California and shifting the health-care system toward prevention, to help people stay healthy.

Given that the March 31 deadline to sign up for insurance is looming, the Solano Coalition is urging people to sign up now. After the deadline, the uninsured will not have another chance until open enrollment in October.

Joanie Erickson, executive director of Solano Coalition for Better Health, said the organization is trying to get the word out about the deadline and providing help for free.

Covered California offers free preventive services and also will help find the right plan for families. Additionally, financial help is available for those who qualify.

For information on Covered California and signing up for health insurance, visit www.solanocoalition.org. To make an appointment for assistance, call 863-4444.


Clock Counts Down to Covered California Health Care Deadline

05 March 2014

image003Vallejo resident Jerry Rothfeld looks through health insurance paperwork Thursday. Rothfeld and his wife have already bought health insurance through Covered California, the state’s healthcare marketplace, before the March 31 deadline. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)


SUISUN CITY — When the cost of retiree Jerry Rothfeld’s health care plan took a sharp increase, he and his wife had to switch to another with lower costs, but also with less coverage and the requirement to travel out of town for health care.

Soon after Covered California, the state’s health care marketplace, opened, the Rothfelds decided to see if they could get better, affordable health care.

“We were nervous, to say the least,” Rothfeld said of starting the process to get coverage through Covered California.

He called the process “tricky and confusing at first,” but assistance from the Solano Coalition for Better Health not only managed to connect him with an affordable health care plan, but one that included access to the doctor he had before he had to quit his first plan.

For Joseph Rapolla of Fairfield, getting his health care coverage squared away before the March 31 deadline is also going to make his life a lot easier. It will certainly make dealing with his diabetes a lot better and more affordable.

“I could not wait any longer,” Rapolla said. “Now, this makes things a lot easier.”

Once the open enrollment deadline passes, the next chance to register will be from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2015.

For Jack Chester of Fairfield, who is on disability, it means the medications and possible treatment he needs won’t “cost into the thousands.”

“Everyone should have health insurance,” Chester said. “It is not cheap, but if you look at the cost of health care, it’s needed.”

Both also were able to work through all the intricacies of getting health care coverage through Covered California in less than a half-hour with the face-to-face help of Kiersha Baron, a health access specialist with the Solano Coalition for Better Health.

The clock is counting down toward the deadline for getting health care coverage through the state’s network and the Solano County nonprofit is pushing hard to get as many uninsured people as possible connected.

“Now is the time to explore what your options are,” said Tamera Owens, the nonprofit’s director of operations. “We want people to understand that they should explore their options before March 31. We want to be able to sit down with them and get them the coverage they need, and that door is closing.”

The Affordable Care Act took effect Jan. 1, requiring everyone to have health insurance or pay a fee, and expanding health care access through Medi-Cal and Covered California. It’s estimated that the Affordable Care Act will give almost 5.9 million uninsured Californians access to health insurance. Of these, more than 625,000 signed up through Covered California as of Jan. 15.

Locally, the 26-year-old Solano Coalition for Better Health, whose offices are located in Suisun City, has been working with Covered California since July to help local residents get health care coverage.

The coalition is an alliance local hospitals, nonprofits, community medical groups and schools that work to improve health care in Solano County. Its counselors are offering their services for free to connect people with health care.

Initial reactions to the coalition’s efforts have ranged from elation that the Affordable Care Act has started to those saying they don’t want any part of “Obamacare.”

“The latter reaction is starting to wane,” said Joanie Erickson, the coalition’s executive director.

Questions fielded by coalition counselors center primarily on whether the health care plan options are expensive and how much will they cost, Owens said.

“The largest misconception is the cost,” she said. “Depending on your income, you may be able to qualify for a fee waiver.”

Counselors are working with people to help them better understand Covered California’s benefits and find the best plan to meet their needs, whether its enrollment in Covered California, Medi-Cal or the Solano Kids Insurance Program.

The coalition’s efforts to get the word out have included town hall meetings, presentations before employee groups and small businesses, and work with school districts. So far, more than 3,500 Solano County adults and children have been enrolled through the coalition’s efforts. The coalition connects between 300 and 325 people on average a month with health care plans.

“It has been steady, but it has been a growing number,” Owens said. “A lot has been by word of mouth from those who get health care coverage and talk to their friends and neighbors.”

The best advice that Rothfeld can give others seeking health care coverage “is to just be persistent and don’t get discouraged.”

To reach the Solano Coalition for Better Health, call 863-4444 or go to www.solanocoalition.org. The coalition’s main offices are located at One Harbor Center, Suite 270, in Suisun City. It is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


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