As open enrollment officially came to an end yesterday, health and consumer advocates are highlighting today the coverage options are still available for Californians through the rest of the year. Those who tried to enroll by March 31st but had issues now have a grace period to finish their sign-up by April 15th. But beyond that, other enrollment opportunities exist, depending on life circumstances, now and into 2014.
But the end of open enrollment is not the end of opportunities to get the coverage Californians need when they need it. For people who lose their income, Medi-Cal continues to be available throughout the year. For all those reasons that people lose coverage, from graduation to divorce, Covered California will continue to be the place to sign up and prevent facing the health and financial consequences of being uninsured. Hundreds of thousands of Californians are still eligible to sign up for coverage, depending on their circumstances:
· For example, Medi-Cal which expanded coverage to low income adults without child dependents up to 138% of poverty level in January, has ongoing enrollment. Whether a low-income working family, an undocumented immigrant youth who is covered under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), or someone who is in between jobs, Medi-Cal is available.
· Californians who are going through life changes can get enrolled during the “special enrollment period.” Projections are that over a million Californians will be eligible, including:
o Changes in family status, including divorce, marriage, having a new baby, or adopting, or otherwise adding a child to the family;
o Moving to California, or from one region to another;
o Graduation, including the thousands of Californians who will graduate from high school or college in May and June of 2014;
o Changing jobs, being between jobs, being released from jail, or otherwise losing one’s coverage.
Joining Health Access were community and constituency organizations:
“For families that are welcoming children via birth or adoption, it’s important to remember that the opportunity for coverage is still available. As we work to get all Californians covered, it’s critical for parents to ensure their children get enrolled in health coverage,” said Kelly Hardy, Senior Health Policy Director, Children Now
“Even though yesterday was the last day of open enrollment, all low-income lawfully present Californians can still enroll in Medi-Cal, if they meet certain requirements. This includes recent immigrants who are subject to the five year bar and those who have been granted deferred action through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program,” said Ron Coleman of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
“Open enrollment is over, but it’s not the end for young adults. Young people are very likely to qualify for special enrollment periods triggered by life events like moving, changing jobs, and getting married,” said Tamika Butler, California Director at Young Invincibles. “Many young adults are also eligible for Medi-Cal, which offers ongoing enrollment. If you’re between jobs, or covered under DACA, it’s not too late to get covered.”