California's emerging health care exchange will bring a new call center - and 500 local jobs - to Rancho Cordova.
City and state officials confirmed Friday that Covered California, the organization instrumental to carrying out the federal health insurance overhaul in California, has signed a local lease to open a state service center on White Rock Road in Rancho Cordova.
"We welcome them," said city economic development director Curt Haven. "They complement our other companies located in Rancho Cordova. We have a ready and willing workforce that will easily fill those jobs."
The Covered California call center is expected to open in August. Its 500 employees, including call center agents, managers and technology specialists, will work in a city that is already home to call centers for Dignity Health, Sutter Health, Delta Dental and Vision Service Plan.
The nearly 60,000-square-foot Rancho Cordova site will be one of two statewide call centers for Covered California. A second state center is expected to be announced for another Central Valley location. And Contra Costa County will be the site of a Covered California call center in partnership with the state's 58 counties.
"We're just really happy that we are going to be able to move forward on this," said Covered California spokesman Dana Howard, adding that he expects the Rancho Cordova site to be fully staffed by this fall. "This really allows Covered California to move forward with getting the millions of uninsured in California enrolled with affordable health coverage. We have a tight window to do this in. And this is just a huge milestone."
The national Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama, requires state health care exchanges to be up and running by 2014.
Before Jan. 1, Covered California, which recently received a federal grant of $674 million, plans to use some of its funds to develop a website where customers can shop for insurance policies.
Covered California expects to create seven geographical exchanges reflecting different health care markets in the Sacramento region, Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Coast, Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California.
The state health exchange will serve households earning up to four times the federal poverty level, equal to $92,200 for a family of four in 2012. State leaders also intend to expand Medi-Cal in California, relying heavily on federal dollars.
News of the new Covered California call center in Rancho Cordova comes six months after cable giant Comcast announced it was closing its California call centers - including a Natomas office that employed 300 workers.
Call The Bee's Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.