During the first two weeks of Covered California’s open enrollment period, more than 48,000 new consumers signed up for coverage through the state’s health insurance marketplace.
Covered California officials said the first enrollment snapshot (Nov. 1-14), shows that the current open-enrollment period is off to a solid start in the state.
“Covered California is off to another positive start as consumers take advantage of the lower prices being offered this year to buy quality health care coverage,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California.
According to Covered California, the number of new consumers enrolled in a health plan is slightly ahead of last year’s pace when more than 39,000 consumers selected a plan during the first two weeks of November 2016.
“While we are encouraged by these early results, we will continue to work hard to get the word out so consumers know they have until Jan. 31 to sign up for coverage,” Lee added.
Covered California officials want to make sure consumers know that unlike a majority of other states in the United States, California’s open-enrollment period will run through Jan. 31, 2018. It is also the one time of year when anyone who needs health insurance can enroll without having to meet special qualifying conditions.
However, consumers who want their insurance coverage to begin on Jan. 1 must enroll by Dec. 15.
According to Covered California, new subsidized enrollees are using their increased tax credit money to purchase more-comprehensive coverage with richer benefits.
The percentage of new subsidy-eligible consumers selecting a Gold-tier plan has increased from 4 percent during the first two weeks of 2016 to 12 percent during the same time period this year, according to Covered California.
However, Silver continues to be the most-selected tier. Officials say that is good news because that is the level at which consumers receive the best value due to cost-sharing reduction benefits.
“Consumers are shopping smart, and finding out that there are many good options this year that are well within their reach,” Lee said.
Also the number of new consumers enrolled in Silver-tier plans, which were subject to a surcharge caused by the Trump administration’s decision to end reimbursement for cost-sharing reduction benefits, has dropped from 56 percent to 45 percent.
Covered California’s analysis also found small increases in consumers selecting Bronze and Platinum coverage.
“Anyone who has shopped in the past should come back and take a second look because prices are lower for many,” Lee said.
Covered California budgeted $111 million dollars for marketing and outreach during the current fiscal year.
The statewide marketing campaign includes ads in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese. The message is “Life can change in an instant.”
Lee said that Covered California’s expansive marketing campaign has been a key ingredient for the exchange’s consistency and stability since it opened its doors in 2014.
Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program cutting the rate of the uninsured in California by more than half.
“Covered California is a stable market that is working well for millions of people,” Lee said. “That’s why it is so disheartening to see Congress discussing another attempt to unravel the law in a way that would send premiums higher and cause many Americans to lose coverage.”
Consumers can learn more about their coverage options at www.CoveredCA.com where they can explore what is available to them and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool.
Consumers can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 800 storefronts statewide or the more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can help consumers understand their choices and enroll, including individuals who can assist in other languages.
Details: (800) 300-1506.