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The last two Saturdays in January, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA14) will host, “Healthcare 411: Information & Advice about the Affordable Care Act.” The events, held respectively in Daly City and San Mateo, will feature workshops on how to navigate California’s health insurance exchange website. There will also be one-on-one informational appointments with insurance exchange experts and free preventative health screenings.

Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Its purpose is to help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. In its initial open-enrollment period, October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014, California enrolled more than 3 million Californians in coverage during that time — 1.4 million through Covered California and over 1.9 million in Medi-Cal.

The following healthcare companies are on the 2015 Covered California exchange: Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Chinese Community Health Plan, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, L.A. Care Health Plan, Molina Healthcare, Sharp Health Plan, Valley Health Plan and Western Health Advantage.

Open enrollment for the 2015 health insurance plans through Covered California began on November 15, 2014 and ends on February 15, 2015. Those previously enrolled, or those wanting coverage to begin on January 1 have already signed on. For newcomers, they can: directly apply at; work directly with a certified insurance agent (at no cost) and there are nine in Pacifica — Emelita P. Bernardo, Rebecca Delgado, Charles Linden, Wendy McLaughlin, Gayle Mitchell, Asuncion Borromeo Sarcos, Elisa Vuong, Fred Mesina and Josephine Villa (their individual information is online at; or attend one of Congresswoman Speier’s healthcare events.

“Healthcare 411: Information & Advice about the Affordable Care Act” will be presented in Daly City on Saturday, January 24, 9:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., Serramonte Del Rey, 699 Serramonte Blvd. The event will be presented in San Mateo on Saturday, January 31, 9:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m., College of San Mateo, College Center Building (Building 10), 1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard. Sign ups for the Congresswoman’s 411 events are available online.