Due to New State Subsidies and Other Policies, Covered California Announces Increase in Enrollment Numbers

For immediate release: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

For more information contact:
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)


New Special Enrollment Period Will Start Through Tax Season

New Numbers Bolster Case for More Affordability Assistance

  • Covered California reports over 418,000 new enrollees in 2020, an increase of 41% from last year’s 296,000. The increase is due in part to the new state subsidies now available under Covered California.
  • Overall enrollment is 1,539,000 which has remained steady over many years, showing Covered California’s stability despite the numerous federal attacks on our health system that could have denied and delayed care and coverage to millions of Californians, and is in fact doing so it other states. 
  • More people should still sign up for care under new special enrollment period announced by Covered California, lasting through April 30 to help those who did not know about the new subsides or that see a penalty for not having coverage as they fill out their tax forms.
  • The new numbers highlight the need for the California Legislature to prioritize additional affordability assistance for Covered California in this year’s budget.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Covered California has released new enrollment numbers, detailing an overall enrollment of 1,539,000 for 2020, of which 418,000 are new enrollees. This represents a 41% increase over 2019 due in large part to new state subsides enacted this year along with the new requirement to have coverage. To encourage even greater enrollment, Covered California also announced a new special enrollment period for those that did not know about the new subsides or the tax penalty for not having health coverage. Health consumer advocates urge the Legislature and the Governor to build on these successes and further reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs in the new year in order to get our state closer to the goal of universal coverage.

Below are comments by Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition:

ENROLLMENT GAINS: “Each time the Trump Administration has attacked our health system, California has countered with its own efforts to protect consumers, especially those in Covered California. As a result of our state’s leadership and aggressive actions against federal sabotage, Covered California has shown itself to be sustainable and resilient, providing real value for consumers seeking health coverage,” said Wright. “It’s impressive that given all the federal attacks on the ACA, over 400,000 Californians newly signed up for coverage, more than either of the last two years, which shows that California’s countermeasures are working.”

NEW SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD: “While we are pleased with the increase in new enrollment, we know hundreds of thousands of Californians are still going without coverage. Many do not know about new state subsides that could make their coverage more affordable, or are not aware that California has reinstated the mandate for health coverage and that they may face a tax penalty. With this new enrollment period, Californians now have more time to sign up for health care and more financial help than any other state in the nation and we encourage everyone to take advantage,” said Wright. “Californians will now be reminded at tax time about their health coverage options, and instead of having no options to avoid a penalty, will have the opportunity to enroll in health coverage for themselves and their families.”

ADVOCATES SEEK NEW STATE SUBSIDIES: “These enrollment numbers are proof that providing greater financial help means more Californians get covered, but we have more work to do to ensure that every Californian can afford and access care. Many Californians still face barriers to care due to cost, and we urge the California Legislature to include additional financial assistance in Covered California in this year’s budget that can help lower premiums and out-of-pocket cost,” said Wright. “The more Californians we enroll in coverage, the more we can spread the risk and cost of care, bringing down premiums for everyone and helping to confront California’s affordability crisis. Californians should sign up for the coverage they need now, stay engaged in the fight to protect our progress under the Affordable Care Act, and work to build toward an improved, more accountable, and universal health system for all Californians.”