CoveredCA Sign-Up Numbers Signal Need for More Affordability Assistance, Individual Mandate

Covered California sees steady enrollment from renewals, but sees decline in new sign-ups due to federal actions to undo parts of the ACA.
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For immediate release: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, director of communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

COVERED CALIFORNIA SEES STEADY ENROLLMENT FROM RENEWALS, BUT SEES DECLINE IN NEW SIGN-UPS DUE TO FEDERAL ACTIONS TO UNDO PARTS OF THE ACA;
A CLARION CALL FOR MORE AFFORDABILITY ASSISTANCE AND STATE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE

    • Covered California releases analysis showing total enrollment remains steady at 1.5 million, but sees big drop in new sign-ups, down 23% due to elimination of the individual mandate and affordability barriers
    • Other states have seen larger drops in new sign-ups since 2016, but California has largely blunted these losses with state action to keep open enrollment periods longer, maintain broad marketing efforts, and other steps to shield Californians from Trump & Congressional sabotage of our health system
    • Consumer advocates want to go beyond Governor Newsom’s proposal to reinstate state-level mandate for health insurance, by increasing the proposed financial help to afford coverage
    • #Care4AllCA campaign of over 60 consumer and health groups will advocate for legislation and budget investments that help low- and middle-income Californians purchase health care for themselves and their families

SACRAMENTO, CA—Today, Covered California released its 2019 enrollment numbers, showing sharp declines in new sign-ups, but overall enrollees holding steady. The new report shows Covered California’s resiliency despite federal sabotage, with 1.2 million renewals and nearly 300,000 new enrollees. However, new sign-ups were down significantly – 23.7% – due to the elimination of the penalty to have health insurance by the Trump Administration & Congress and continued affordability barriers for those buying insurance through Covered California.

“Covered California’s strong re-enrollment numbers show our state’s strategy to shield consumers from the sabotage of the Trump Administration has so far been successful. But the drop in new enrollments are a clarion call for continued and further state action to help people afford and enroll in coverage,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a co-chair of the #Care4AllCA campaign. “These numbers provide new urgency to Governor Newsom’s health proposals, and prove that we should go further in providing additional affordability assistance. By enhancing subsidies to sign-up for coverage and continuing the individual mandate at the state level, California can prevent the federal sabotage of our health system and ultimately get us to a universal health system where everyone has the care and coverage they need and can afford.”

The stability of Covered California’s enrollment despite federal sabotage is largely due to actions taken by the state to shield consumers from these attacks, such as longer open enrollment periods and broad marketing efforts, and more. But California has the power to take additional steps to encourage health care coverage such as increasing subsides for those that still find insurance unaffordable, and reinstating the penalty for not having health coverage. Governor Newsom has proposed a state level individual mandate which would raise money to assist people in affording care. But this Covered California report highlights the reality that Californians are struggling to afford care now, and cannot wait for longer solutions. The Care4All California campaign of over 60 health and consumer groups will advocate for immediate budget investments that help low-and middle-income Californians purchase health care for themselves and their families.

“These numbers affirm that the steps we are taking towards universal coverage are working, but that we must keep taking strides forward. In additional to increased affordability assistance, we can also expand access to health care by opening up Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status. Together, these will get California closer to the goal of 1-3% uninsured rate seen in most European countries,” said Wright.

For immediate release: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, director of communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

COVERED CALIFORNIA SEES STEADY ENROLLMENT FROM RENEWALS, BUT SEES DECLINE IN NEW SIGN-UPS DUE TO FEDERAL ACTIONS TO UNDO PARTS OF THE ACA;

A CLARION CALL FOR MORE AFFORDABILITY ASSISTANCE AND STATE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE

Covered California releases analysis showing total enrollment remains steady at 1.5 million, but sees big drop in new sign-ups, down 23% due to elimination of the individual mandate and affordability barriers
Other states have seen larger drops in new sign-ups since 2016, but California has largely blunted these losses with state action to keep open enrollment periods longer, maintain broad marketing efforts, and other steps to shield Californians from Trump & Congressional sabotage of our health system
Consumer advocates want to go beyond Governor Newsom’s proposal to reinstate state-level mandate for health insurance, by increasing the proposed financial help to afford coverage
#Care4AllCA campaign of over 60 consumer and health groups will advocate for legislation and budget investments that help low- and middle-income Californians purchase health care for themselves and their families
SACRAMENTO, CA—Today, Covered California released its 2019 enrollment numbers, showing sharp declines in new sign-ups, but overall enrollees holding steady. The new report shows Covered California’s resiliency despite federal sabotage, with 1.2 million renewals and nearly 300,000 new enrollees. However, new sign-ups were down significantly – 23.7% – due to the elimination of the penalty to have health insurance by the Trump Administration & Congress and continued affordability barriers for those buying insurance through Covered California.

“Covered California’s strong re-enrollment numbers show our state’s strategy to shield consumers from the sabotage of the Trump Administration has so far been successful. But the drop in new enrollments are a clarion call for continued and further state action to help people afford and enroll in coverage,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a co-chair of the #Care4AllCA campaign. “These numbers provide new urgency to Governor Newsom’s health proposals, and prove that we should go further in providing additional affordability assistance. By enhancing subsidies to sign-up for coverage and continuing the individual mandate at the state level, California can prevent the federal sabotage of our health system and ultimately get us to a universal health system where everyone has the care and coverage they need and can afford.”

The stability of Covered California’s enrollment despite federal sabotage is largely due to actions taken by the state to shield consumers from these attacks, such as longer open enrollment periods and broad marketing efforts, and more. But California has the power to take additional steps to encourage health care coverage such as increasing subsides for those that still find insurance unaffordable, and reinstating the penalty for not having health coverage. Governor Newsom has proposed a state level individual mandate which would raise money to assist people in affording care. But this Covered California report highlights the reality that Californians are struggling to afford care now, and cannot wait for longer solutions. The Care4All California campaign of over 60 health and consumer groups will advocate for immediate budget investments that help low-and middle-income Californians purchase health care for themselves and their families.

“These numbers affirm that the steps we are taking towards universal coverage are working, but that we must keep taking strides forward. In additional to increased affordability assistance, we can also expand access to health care by opening up Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status. Together, these will get California closer to the goal of 1-3% uninsured rate seen in most European countries,” said Wright.