New Covered California Enrollment Numbers Show Promise of New State Subsidies to Make Coverage More Affordable

Earlier today Covered California released new numbers showing the strength of this year's open enrollment in California.
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For immediate release: Thursday, December 12, 2019

For more information contact:
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)

NEW COVERED CALIFORNIA ENROLLMENT NUMBERS SHOW PROMISE OF NEW STATE SUBSIDIES TO MAKE COVERAGE MORE AFFORDABLE

  • This year, the legislator and Governor Newsom, with backing from health care consumer advocates, invested $1.5 billion over three years to lower the cost of care for those who purchase coverage through Covered California
  • The first-in-the-nation investment included subsides above what the Affordable Care Act provides, helping individuals and families that make four to six times the poverty level
  • New enrollment numbers released today show the promise of California’s efforts to build upon the progress made under the ACA is expanding coverage to more people. Advocates will be seeking additional affordability assistance in 2020, as part of an effort to cut cost-sharing and deductibles, as well as the uninsured rate further, to the goal of universal coverage.
  • Californians should sign up by December 15th for coverage beginning on January 1, 2020. Californians will have until January 31st to enroll in coverage for 2020.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Earlier today Covered California released new numbers showing the strength of this year’s open enrollment in California. Nearly 500,000 consumers have already enrolled in coverage through Covered California this year and are receiving enhanced state subsides. In additional, more than 130,000 have newly enrolled in coverage, up 16 percent over last year. The surge is likely due to a number of factors including California’s efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections, the new state requirement to have health care coverage, and Covered California’s robust marketing efforts. But one of the largest drivers of enrollment has likely been the large California budget investment in affordability assistance provided this year for those in Covered California. About 1.1 million Californians previously enrolled with Covered California have also re-enrolled in coverage.  Nearly a million Californians will see lower premiums this year due to first-ever state investments, and hundreds of thousands are expected to become newly covered.

“These new state subsidies are great for the low- and middle-income California families who are getting new assistance to afford health coverage, but this also helps strengthen our health system as a whole. Everyone benefits when everyone is covered, getting primary and preventive care, and being protecting from financial ruin in the care of illness or emergency.” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition and a key supporter of the additional affordability assistance in the state budget. “Not only will more people now have health insurance, or enroll in better health plans, but premiums may be lower than otherwise for everyone as the health care market becomes more stable. As the federal government continues to find ways sabotage our health care system and reduce coverage, California is showing the way to actually strengthen our health care system and cover more people.”

“If you have been struggling with the cost of care, or have been uninsured, now is the time to take another look at the assistance available, for Californians of both lower and higher incomes. Many more options are available to you that will help yourself and your family find quality, affordable coverage,” said Wright. “We encourage people to enroll by December 15th so that your coverage can begin on January 1, 2020.”

For more details on affordability assistance in the 2019-2020 state budget, see this Health Access fact sheet.

“Even with the help under the Affordable Care Act, many Californians found that health care coverage was still out of reach, especially in our high cost-of-living state—and we are glad that our Governor and legislative leaders sought to provide additional assistance,” said Wright. “We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Newsom and the Legislature to make the investments to make care more affordable, and get to the ultimate goal of universal coverage. This are great steps, but there is more we must do to provide the guarantee of affordability, and continue to address underlying price of premiums and health care.”

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