Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee announced Thursday that more than 1.8 million Californians have been covered through the state health benefit exchange, with the majority paying less than $150 per month and many tens of thousands paying less than $10 per month for coverage.

“Covered California is now able to tell the story of those who have received the benefits of coverage, not just the tally of those who enrolled,” Lee said. “Covered California is working as intended, delivering on the dream of the Affordable Care Act and putting care within reach for many millions of Californians who could not afford care in the past.”

Lee also told the Covered California Board on Thursday that Covered California currently has more than 1.3 million members who have active health insurance as of March 2015.

“This base of enrollment means we have a solid foundation,” Lee said. “While the size and diversity of California can sometimes be a challenge in terms of reaching the vast pool of potential enrollees, it also means we can operate on a scale that gives us the resources we need to support our operation and continue to reduce the number of uninsured in our state.”

With this announcement, Covered California is now the second-largest purchaser of health insurance for those under 65. Across all ages, Covered California is one of the largest among all purchasers of insurance, behind the federal government, Medi-Cal and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).

“To give a sense of Covered California’s scale, we currently have more than two times the enrollment of Californians insured by the University of California, Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Target and Boeing combined,” Lee said. “Clearly, Covered California has arrived and has the scale to be a major player in helping to shape the delivery system and improve the quality and affordability of care for all Californians.”

The budget proposed for Covered California for fiscal year 2015-2016 was reviewed by the board on Thursday for adoption in June. It projects between 1.37 million and 1.54 million members with active health insurance in 2015. Lee said the new data on effectuated enrollment as of March 2015 means Covered California may exceed the projections, ensuring the revenue the exchange needs for robust ongoing operations.

In a report (see the attachment) to the Covered California Board, Lee said that many exchange enrollees now purchase coverage for as little as a dollar or two per month. Among those who receive financial help to buy health coverage:

  • More than three-quarters of all subsidized enrollees — about 912,000 people — pay less than $150 per member per month for health coverage.

  • More than 120,000 enrollees pay less than $10 per member per month for coverage.

  • Among those with the highest-level Enhanced Silver-tier coverage, which covers 94 percent of an enrollee’s costs, 75,000 enrollees pay less than $25 per member per month, and 115,000 pay less than $50 per member per month.

“Covered California is providing financial help that puts health care within reach for millions of Californians,” Lee said. 

The 1.3 million Californians with active coverage today is in addition to the 2 million people who obtained coverage through Medi-Cal as a result of the Affordable Care Act and the state’s decision to expand coverage to low-income childless adults in that program.

Lee emphasized to the board that the enrollees in Covered California are an ever-changing pool.

“This represents the reality of Covered California providing a new safety net for all Californians who have the peace of mind of knowing that if they ever lose their employer-based coverage, we are there for them,” Lee said.

In the first year Covered California offered coverage, the number of uninsured Californians dropped from 22 percent to 11 percent, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

“The Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape in California,” Lee said. “Millions of people now have access to the right care at the right time. In the years ahead, we look forward to enrolling even more of the uninsured.”

Individuals who need health coverage can enroll in Covered California at any time if they meet special-enrollment conditions such as moving, having a baby, experiencing an income change or losing their health coverage. If they do not meet one of those conditions, they must sign up during open enrollment, which begins Nov. 1.

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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


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