Covered California Lags on Paychecks, Vague on Why: Counselor

Dewan Gibson said the state owes him more than $2,000 for work done last year

As Covered California works to process more than a million health care applications and renewals, a San Diego man said it is falling behind in another area: paychecks.

Dewan Gibson is a front line soldier in the huge state health care exchange, which hopes to enroll 1.7 million Californians. If anyone has trouble navigating the revamped Covered California website, Gibson and other contractors like him come to the rescue.

“We’re the people when you click that link and you call, we come to you and help you enroll in Covered California,” Gibson told NBC 7.

He’s one of the state’s nearly 6,400 certified public enrollment counselors, and for every person he helps to enroll, the state is supposed to pay him a flat fee.

“So we’re well over $2,000 that I haven’t been paid,” he said.

Gibson estimates he has enrolled about 40 people since last summer, and all he has received is one check for $58.

Trying to find out why, Gibson turned to his only pay check. He said the help number printed on it has been crossed out with a marker, and the new number written in pen above it just goes to the general Covered California line.

“Well, it’s really frustrating. The only thing worse than not being paid is not knowing why you’re not being paid,” the counselor said.

When he called the general line, he was told they do not handle paychecks. A call to his trainer got him another number, but he has received no answers.

NBC 7 reached out to other groups in San Diego that do the kind of work Gibson does. While they did not want to do an interview, more than one said they have also seen delays in checks coming from the state.

A Covered California spokesperson responded to NBC 7 on Monday, saying the organization mailed Gibson a check late last week.

As for its communication issues, the spokesperson’s statement says, “We communicate regularly with our partners and keep them updated on the scheduling of payments."

Gibson said he received one email that informed him payments from September would be issued in February.

“No reason given,” he said. “You just receive this mass email and you can’t respond to it, can’t get anyone on the phone.”

Going forward, this stay-at-home father of three said he has far more valuable ways to spend his time, so he will not be taking on new clients.

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