For immediate release: Monday, November 9, 2020
For more information contact:
Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Yvonne Vasquez, Communications Associate, Health Access California, 916- 407 – 7078 (cell)
COVERED CALIFORNIA STARTS #GETCOVERED ENROLLMENT PUSH, HIGHLIGHTING COVID 19 CRISIS, LOW PREMIUM INCREASES, NEW STATE SUBSIDIES;
TOMORROW THE SUPREME COURT CASE WILL BE HEARD TO UNDO THE ACA
Health advocates urge Californians to shop, compare, and sign up for health coverage for 2021–and then continue the fight to keep these crucial benefits.
- Now more than ever in a pandemic, Californians should sign up for coverage–and have new options even if they recently lost income, a job, and/or coverage.
- Most Covered California consumers will pay only a certain percentage of their income for coverage, including with new state subsidies for families up to $150K for a family of four. Even those without subsidies will see a rate increase of less than 1%, Many could see decreases as well, and shopping around could lower premiums on average by 7%.
- Advice to consumers include: even if you did before, check to see what you qualify for–many Californians are paying more than they need because they don’t know more help is available; even if you like your plan, shop and compare through Covered California; the best deal last year isn’t necessarily the best deal next year; and more.
- All these coverage options are at risk with the Supreme Court case being heard tomorrow, based on the flimsiness of reasons, but with potential catastrophic impacts.
- What’s needed is not to undo the ACA but to build upon it, including more affordability assistance is needed–from Congress and the State Legislature–to help Californians keep coverage in this COVID-19 crisis.
SACRAMENTO, CA – Covered California launched its enrollment push for 2021, making the case for coverage in the context of the continuing COVID19 crisis. Especially when they have lost income, a job, or health benefits, Californians will be able to sign up for coverage through 11 health plans, with affordability assistance to not have to pay more than a percent of their income, and including with additional state subsidies that started this year. Even for those without financial aid, Covered California announced that 2021 individual insurance premiums will see a minimal average rate increase of 0.6%, the lowest increase in the marketplace’s history, and shopping around could decrease premiums on average by 7%.
This open enrollment effort starts with the shadow of a Supreme Court case being heard tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th, where several state attorneys general and the Trump Administration are arguing to strike down the Affordable Care Act, and with it, patient protections, including for people with pre-existing conditions, the financial assistance for many low- and middle-income Americans to afford coverage, the Medicaid expansions, and much more.
“Health advocates urge Californians to still shop, compare, and sign up for coverage for 2021, and then continue the fight to keep and expand these benefits in the courts and Congress. The continuing COVID19 crisis elevates Covered California’s crucial role, to offer a range of health plan options, but with federal and now state subsidies to better afford health coverage. With so many having lost jobs, income, and coverage, the Supreme Court and Congress must act accordingly to prevent millions from losing health care and coverage in a pandemic.” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.
“Now is the time for all Californians to revisit their health care plan options, and enroll in care with the possibility of getting a lower rate. Many Californians will get affordability assistance so they don’t have to spend more than a percent of their income. Many Californians paid more than they had to this year, unaware of financial assistance available worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.” said Wright. “Even for those who are not eligible for the newly expanded subsidies will still see a record low rate increase, and the real possibility of a lower premium if they shop around. The best deal last year is not necessarily the best deal next year. We urge millions of Californians, especially those losing not just jobs and income but their employer health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, to check out their options through Covered California and Medi-Cal.”
According to Health Access’ fact sheet, the new state subsidies that started this year are helping those over 400% of the poverty level (around $50K for an individual and $100K for a family of four), up to 600% ($75K for an individual, $150K for a family of four) who are ineligible for federal help, but is also improves upon the federal help for many lower-income Californians. Additionally, those Californians at or below the poverty line get their premiums reduced to nearly zero, helping those who fall through the cracks of Medi-Cal. For those who has seen their income reduced significantly or entirely, Medi-Cal offers low to no-cost comprehensive health coverage and enrollment is open year round. Covered California provides a direct portal to Medi-Cal enrollment when appropriate.
“Beyond fighting the threat of the Supreme Court case against the ACA, we urge Congress and our California legislature to take additional steps to help people afford coverage as they consider COVID19 relief, to build on what is working. With millions losing not just jobs and income but also health coverage, we need to prevent the sticker shock of buying coverage unsubsidized by an employer, and bring down the cost of coverage and care further for Californians who need it more than ever.” said Wright. “We want consumers to be covered in case they need not just testing for COVID-19 but treatment, including hospitalizations and follow-up care.”
If the Supreme Court were to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, the impacts would be enormous. The consequences were detailed in two recent events, archived in links below:
* Virtual Town Hall: Still Fighting for Our Health hosted by Health Access California and including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the lead litigant defending the ACA, Congressmembers Cox, Khanna, and Lieu, key community groups, and patient stories.
* California State Senate Health Committee informational hearing, with numerous experts, patient stories, providers, and others, including Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California as the final speaker.