During COVID-19 Crisis Enrollment in Covered California Continues to Grow

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California, rlinngish@health-access.org, 916-532-2128 (cell)
Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California, awright@health-access.org, 916-870-4782 (cell)


  • More than 84,000 Californians have signed up for coverage in Covered California during the special enrollment period announced for COVID-19 pandemic
  • Continued and growing interest points to the need for affordable health care coverage options for those losing employer-sponsored coverage or seeing a reduction in income, including Covered California and Medi-Cal
  • Federal and state investments in Covered California and Medi-Cal are more crucial than ever. 

SACRAMENTO—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.

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. The continued surge in enrollment in Covered California is clear evidence that many Californians need these options under the Affordable Care Act—but more help is needed,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “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.”

“We urge Congress and California legislative leaders to continue these investments, as well as augment where needed to fill in remaining gaps in care and coverage,” continued Wright. “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.”


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/