Assemblyman Brian Nestande and the Palm Desert Chamber hosted an Affordable Care Act town hall meeting Thursday. Nearly 50 Valley residents and business owners attended the event at the CSU-San Bernardino Palm Desert campus with questions about the new law and the California health exchange, Covered California.

The discussion included topics such as who is eligible to enroll, financial assistance, what is covered, and expanded Medical coverage.

Covered California representatives were on hand to answer questions and discuss the available health care plans. They were able to ease the mind of business owners such as Michael Clark, of M Clark Financial in Indian Wells.

"I do offer health insurance to my employees. I was told their dependents, who I don't cover, wouldn't be eligible for Covered California and that concerned me," he said. "At least now I know I can go back to the office and clarify that their dependents can go to the exchange and when qualified, get subsidies there, which is really important," said Clark.

Nestande said implementing the Affordable Care Act will take time.

"It's a very complex law so it's going to take a while to unwind all of this."
Covered California sales director Rich Hines said for those who don't know which health care plan is best suited for them, their families or employees, to seek assistance from a certified insurance agent that represents Covered California.

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In case you missed the Palm Desert town hall, a free Affordable Care Act presentation will be Monday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fullenwider Auditorium at the Riverside County Fairgrounds (46350 Arabia St.) in Indio.