Consumers Still Have Through Feb. 6 to Finish Their Applications
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With three days left for consumers to finish their applications for affordable, quality health care coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Covered California announced that more than 425,000 consumers had made plan selections during its third open-enrollment period.
“In the last four days of open enrollment, nearly 100,000 consumers signed up for quality health care coverage,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Those who started an application still have time to finish the process and get the health care and the peace of mind they deserve.”
In addition to the strong enrollment, Covered California’s initial analysis shows that its new consumers got younger for a second consecutive year. The number of young adults in the crucial 18- to 34-year-old demographic has increased to 37 percent this year, compared with 29 percent during the first open-enrollment period.
“Even more important than the strong numbers of those enrolling is the fact that we appear to be continuing to attract a younger and healthy mix of consumers,” Lee said. “We continue to have a broad and healthy mix of those signing up for coverage — which has already been declared among the healthiest in the country — which means better rates and a more stable system, both for all of our enrollees, and for the entire individual health insurance marketplace in California.”
Covered California’s healthy risk mix has previously resulted in weighted average rate changes of 4.2 percent in 2015 and 4 percent in 2016, well below what consumers saw before the Affordable Care Act. In addition, because consumers can now shop and change plans during open enrollment, consumers who switched to the lowest-cost plan in their area could reduce their premiums by an average of 4.5 percent for 2016.
Covered California also announced that 1,149,000 consumers who were enrolled in 2015 had plan selections made for 2016. This compares to 944,000 consumers who were enrolled in 2014 and made plan selections for 2015. Later this year, Covered California will release data on how many of these returning consumers and new enrollees have paid for their coverage.
“This is great news as Covered California and health exchanges across the country mature in this new era of health care,” Lee said. “Marketplaces are getting to the point where year-over-year growth will appear modest, because they are serving so many consumers who use the marketplace as a safety net between employer-based coverage or public programs.”
Covered California reported last October that, while at that point there were 1.3 million individuals with active coverage, more than 2 million had received the benefits of coverage for some period since the exchange began offering coverage in January 2014. The agency also was able to confirm that the vast majority, 85 percent, of those who left Covered California got health insurance from another source.
Open enrollment ended on Jan. 31, but Covered California announced that consumers who started the enrollment process or made an appointment with a certified enroller before the deadline would have until midnight Feb. 6 to complete that application. Consumers must finish the process with either a Certified Insurance Agent, Certified Enrollment Counselor, Certified Plan-Based Enroller or Service Center representative at Covered California.
“Don’t gamble with your health,” Lee said. “If you started an application or made that appointment to get covered, our certified enrollers and Service Center representatives will help you get across the finish line.”
Consumers can reach a Service Center representative by calling (800) 300-1506. The nearest Certified Insurance Agent, Certified Enrollment Counselor or Certified Plan-Based Enroller can be found by visiting www.CoveredCA.com/get-help/local and searching for enrollment help by ZIP code.
Now that open enrollment has ended, consumers must have a life-changing event in order to be eligible for Covered California’s special-enrollment period. The most common life-changing events are getting married, having a child, losing coverage from a job or Medi-Cal, or moving. For more information on special enrollment visit: www.CoveredCA.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/special-enrollment. Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market 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 www.CoveredCA.com.