August 18, 2022

Covered California Welcomes Longtime Leader in Health and Advocacy to Its Board

  • Kate Kendell, who serves as the chief of staff at The California Endowment, is the newest member of Covered California’s Board of Directors.
  • Kendell’s career has focused on expanding access to affordable, quality health care for underserved communities and fighting for racial justice and civil rights for LGBTQ people and their families.
  • The San Francisco resident is replacing Art Torres and will serve the remainder of a term that ends on Jan. 1, 2024.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kate Kendell, a longtime leader in health and advocacy from San Francisco, was sworn in on Thursday as the newest member of the Covered California Board of Directors. Kendell is currently the chief of staff at The California Endowment.

“Kate has spent her career fighting on behalf of underserved communities, and that fits with our mission of providing quality health care to all Californians,” said Covered California Executive Director Jessica Altman. “She joins Covered California as we celebrate a decade of providing Californians with the health care they need, and as we embark on the next decade of ensuring health care and health equity.”

Kendell led the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, for 22 years until 2018. The University of Utah graduate then became the interim chief legal officer at the Southern Poverty Law Center, before accepting the position to become the first-ever chief of staff at The California Endowment.

“I am tremendously honored and humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to using my voice to increase and expand access to quality health care,” Kendell said. “Ensuring health care for all in California is a passion for me.”

Kendell was appointed by California Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego). She will replace Art Torres, who stepped down from Covered California’s board earlier this year. Kendell will serve the remainder of Torres’s term, which ends on Jan. 1, 2024.

There is no compensation for the position, but Kendell may receive a per diem and reimbursement for travel and other necessary expenses.

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality insurance from top insurance companies. Covered California is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial assistance on a sliding scale to reduce premium costs. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal program.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the health insurance marketplace work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit

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