California Endowment raises awareness for health care overhaul

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Parts of President Obama’s national health care reform will take effect in California on Thursday. A private health foundation is starting an ad campaign to let you know what’s coming.

Health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover children with asthma, diabetes or other pre-existing conditions. Children can stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26. And insurers can’t drop coverage when people get sick and need it the most.

Officials at the California Endowment say few Californians know about or are ready for those changes. So it’s spending millions of dollars on a statewide ad campaign.

The Endowment especially wants to reach Latinos and young adults. The effort includes a website: It explains the changes in laws that govern health care – and has a place to ask questions.

Most of the health care overhaul changes take effect in four years. Aetna and some Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans have already signaled that they plan to raise some premiums nearly 10 percent. The health insurers told regulators the extra cash will help cover new benefits.