For immediate release: Tuesday, July 9, 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 ANNOUNCES MINIMAL RATE INCREASE FOR 2020 HEALTH PREMIUMS;
DUE TO CA BUDGET ACTIONS, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CALIFORNIANS WILL PAY LESS FOR COVERAGE;
OVER 225,000 WILL BE NEWLY COVERED
- Most Covered California consumers will pay a lower percentage of their income for coverage, due to California’s steps to shore up and expand upon the ACA.
- As a result of more people in the individual insurance market sharing the risk and cost of care, even those without state subsidy will on average see a rate increase of less than 1%.
- CA budget investments for affordability assistance this year, partially funded by instituting the state-level individual mandate to have coverage, and other state efforts to blunt the sabotage of our health care system by the Trump Administration, will keep more Californians covered, and rate increases lower for everyone, subsidized or not. NEW Health Access fact sheet describes the affordability gains in the budget.
- Still, more help is needed: The #Care4AllCA campaign of over 70 consumer and community groups sought these investments, and seek more to cut the uninsured in the individual insurance market in half.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Covered California announced today that 2020 individual insurance premiums will see a minimal average rate increase of less than one percent. The announcement also highlights the expected increase in health insurance enrollment of over 225,000 Californians due to the new financial help that was included in the 2019-2020 state budget negotiated last month that will allow a majority of Covered California enrollees to pay less for coverage, as a lower percentage of their income, than they do this year.
“These minimal Covered California rate increases, the lowest in memory, are proof that our state’s actions to defend and improve upon the ACA are working. As a result of state actions, most Covered California enrollees will pay less for health insurance, as a lower percent of their income, than they do today, and many more will gain coverage that could not afford it before. More people with health coverage not only helps individuals and families better plan for their financial future, but also helps stabilize the market, lowering costs for everyone,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “This announcement shows that California’s leadership on health care has made a real difference–and should encourage state policymakers to do more to bring down the cost of coverage and care even further for Californians, and further cut our uninsured rate.”
Californians buying coverage as individuals will benefit from the state budget’s biggest new investment in health care, which will help more Californians afford to purchase coverage. Thanks in part to the advocacy of health consumer groups, the 2019-2020 budget includes $1.5 billion dollars over three years in state subsidies to help low- and moderate-income Californians better afford coverage. The new dollars help resolve the cliffs in coverage subsidies in the ACA, which cut off for those over four times the poverty level. With California’s high-cost of living, many people over that subsidy cliff were still facing significant challenges to afford care. The new affordability assistance now extends to six times the poverty level—around $75,000 for an individual, and $150,000 for a family of four, helping hundreds of thousands of Californians either gain coverage or better afford it.
More detailed in a new Health Access fact sheet on affordability assistance in the 2019-2020 state budget:
- Estimated 235,000 Californians who currently get no help to afford coverage because they make a little too much will get new help starting in 2020.
- Almost 670,000 Californians between two and four times the poverty level will get some additional help, beyond what the ACA provides, to lower their premium even further, as a lower percent of their income.
- Another 20,000 Californians at or below the poverty line will get their premiums reduced to nearly zero. These Californians fall through the cracks of Medi-Cal but will now get coverage aligned with Medi-Cal’s premiums.
“Last year, nearly half of the 8% average premium increase in Covered California was due to the federal attack on the ACA by zeroing-out the individual mandate penalty–and rates would have been at least 2-5% higher in 2020 without state action. Californians won’t see that sabotage surcharge this year, and will actually see additional state subsidies to bring down their premiums,” said Wright. “All of the money raised from the mandate goes to fund greater affordability assistance in Covered California, helping to keep our health system strong. While citizens of other states continue their ongoing attacks on the ACA by the Trump Administration, California is showing how to build on our progress to keep premiums in check and expand coverage further.”
“The success in keeping premiums in check should encourage California policymakers to make more investments in additional affordability assistance in future budgets. Earlier this year, Covered California modeled a $2 billion investment that could cut the number of uninsured in the individual market in half, and we should make that our next goal, ultimately moving toward universal coverage. California is leading the nation the way to both build on the ACA, providing tangible financial help to families now, and to do the planning and take the steps to make health care a right for all.”