Covered California today released updated enrollment numbers showing that interest and sign-ups in the exchange continue to grow. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 20 Covered California announced a special enrollment period to last until June 30. Since then over 84,000 Californians have enrolled in health care coverage through Covered California—2.5 times more enrollments than during the same period last year. Covered California also announced a new E-mail outreach effort to over 11 million California consumers to help them better understand their health care options.
Federal and state investments in Covered California and Medi-Cal are more crucial than ever.
Covered California’s surge in enrollment highlights the need for health care options for those losing their jobs and employer-based coverage or seeing a decrease in income during the COVID-19 pandemic. California is the only state that offers both federal and state subsides to middle-income individuals (earning up to $75,000/year) and families (of four earning up to $150,000/year) which makes it an affordable option for many Californians.
State and federal dollars also fund Medi-Cal, our state’s version of Medicaid, to ensure more people can sign up and access the no-cost program. Covered California’s website includes a page with a portal to sign up for Medi-Cal for those who are income-eligible, which has seen a 50 percent increase in traffic over the same period last year.
As Californians lose income and employment, they are also losing health benefits, and we need to sustain and strengthen the coverage options available in Medi-Cal and Covered California.
Hundreds of thousands of Californians are eligible for subsidized coverage, and while many are taking up coverage, more financial assistance is needed to ensure that everyone who needs coverage can access and afford it. At a time when millions of Californians are now finding themselves without employer-sponsored coverage it’s more important than ever to protect, invest, and expand programs like Covered California and Medi-Cal.
Health Access is urging Congress and California legislative leaders to continue these investments, as well as augment where needed to fill in remaining gaps in care and coverage. Congress should increase affordability assistance in exchanges like Covered California, and prevent cuts in Medi-Cal through federal aid. To fully ensure we contain COVID-19, California can continue its efforts to expand Medi-Cal, and to supplement state subsides in Covered California.
For more information:
CA Coalition Letter: COVID-4 Federal Relief Package
Health Access Letter: Health Care Budget Decisions to Protect California Consumers in Response to COVID-19
Health4All Coalition Letter: Full-Scope Medi-Cal for Low-Income Undocumented Elders (Ages 65+)
Learn more about Californians’ coverage options and protections here: https://health-access.org/covid-19-resources-and-information/