- Today marks the start of the 11th open enrollment period of Covered California and the most affordable year ever for enrollees, with new, significant state and federal financial assistance available.
- The Inflation Reduction Act continues major premium assistance for the nearly 2 million Californians in Covered California through 2025.
- Funding included in this year’s state budget championed by Health Access eliminated deductibles and reduced out-of-pocket costs for over 650,000 enrollees.
- Together, most enrollees will pay just a few dollars a month, or even less, for quality coverage.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Today kicks-off the 2024 open enrollment for Covered California, the state-based health care exchange for those that purchase coverage on their own. This year’s open enrollment will be the most affordable ever for enrollees, many of whom will see their premiums remain low and new reductions in their deductibles and co-pays.
The historically low costs for consumers are due to a number of federal and state investments over the last year:
- The Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Congress in 2022 and continued through 2025, caps premiums at 8.5% of income for all enrollees regardless of income, and significantly less for lower income consumers. These subsidies have been very successful, leading to an increase in Covered California enrollees, providing real savings of thousands of dollars in premium costs for most who were already enrolled while also helping to stabilize the marketplace.
- This year, Health Access, along with health and consumer advocates of the #Care4AllCA campaign, successfully fought for state budget investments to lower other out-of-pocket costs such as high deductibles and co-pays that were a barrier to care for many enrollees. As a result, over 650,000 Californians will have more access and affordability to health care, from doctor visits to prescription drugs to hospital stays.
- In addition, those eligible among California’s approximately 165,000 DACA recipients will now be able to sign up for subsidized Covered California health plans after President Biden announced earlier this year his administration would deem them “lawfully present” for purposes of health coverage enrollment and financial assistance.
“While health costs are rising, Covered California is offering direct and meaningful relief that should shield Californians from premium hikes, and may even reduce cost-sharing and eliminate deductibles. With the combination of federal and state subsidies, Covered California is now more affordable than ever for most enrollees,” said Diana Douglas, director of policy and advocacy for Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Federal affordability assistance will cap premiums at a percentage of a families’ income and new state subsidies will eliminate deductibles and reduce cost-sharing, removing barriers to accessing care. Californians should take advantage of this new affordability assistance that’s available next year—and then join the fight to keep those benefits into the future.”
The 2023-2024 California state budget provided a key investment to make accessing care more affordable by zeroing-out hospital deductibles in Silver plans for those under 250% of the poverty level—deductibles that would have been as much as $5,400 next year. The new program also lowers the cost of doctor visits, prescription drugs, maximum out of pocket costs and more for these nearly 650,000 Californians earning $36,000/year or less as an individual ($75,000/year for a family of four). Another 35,000 enrollees will be automatically enrolled into these higher-value plans to receive the new benefits.
These lower costs also come at a critical time when many people may be determined ineligible for Medi-Cal after a pause in renewals during the pandemic. Those that may be losing Medi-Cal and looking to purchase coverage through Covered California will now be eligible to receive these enhanced benefits and are more likely to get and remain covered.
“We encourage all Californians—whether enrolled in Covered California, in other individual coverage, and especially if uninsured—to look at these new options for you and your family. Even if you have checked before, you should look at your Covered California options again to shop and compare. With all the new help available, you may be happily surprised,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access.
Visit www.coveredca.com to shop and compare plans, and either enroll or switch your current coverage. Open enrollment runs through January 31, 2024.
Press inquires can be directed to: Rachel Linn Gish, firstname.lastname@example.org, (916) 532-2128 (cell)