HomeHealth & LifestyleCovered California's Historic First Open Enrollment Finishes With Projections Exceeded

Covered California's Historic First Open Enrollment Finishes With Projections Exceeded

Agents, Counselors, Community Organizations and County Workers Credited as Reason for High Enrollment in California
Covered California, Department of Health Care Services and Other Partners Help More Than 3 Million Californians Get Coverage

Sacramento, CA — With a final surge over the past two weeks, more than 3 million California consumers enrolled in health insurance plans or in Medi-Cal by April 15, Covered California™ and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced today.

"Bringing health insurance and health care to so many Californians is a big achievement that was accomplished in no small measure by the work of our employees, our partners at DHCS, insurance agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors, county partners and community organizations who spread the word about this historic initiative," Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. "We are proud of what California has achieved, but recognize this is only the beginning of a long road of expanding affordable coverage to all Californians."

From April 1-15, 205,685 consumers – including a one-day record of more than 50,000 on the final day – completed their applications and selected health plans through the Covered California exchange, bringing the total to 1,395,929 at the end of the historic, first open enrollment period. The total exceeds the base projection for Covered California for the entire six-month enrollment period by more than 815,929.

Of those enrolled in Covered California plans, 1,222,320, or 88 percent, are eligible for financial subsidies to help cover the cost of their health insurance premiums.

Medi-Cal enrolled approximately 1.9 million people through the end of March, including 1.1 million through the Covered California portal and county offices, approximately 650,000 former Low Income Health Program (LIHP) members who were transitioned to Medi-Cal by DHCS, and 180,000 individuals who applied through the state's Express Lane program.

"When we began this journey last October, our goal was to help Californians get quality, affordable health care coverage," said DHCS Director Toby Douglas. "With the help of our county partners, Covered California and thousands of concerned citizens and organizations who contributed, we've made incredible progress toward our goal in just six short months. We're excited about the opportunities ahead for even more individuals who now have the opportunity to get coverage through Medi-Cal and Covered California."

Enrollment among Latinos and among Californians 18 to 34 years old had a strong finish. Additionally, Covered California more than doubled its base projection for Asian enrollment and has met the base projection for African-American enrollment. Lee said insurance companies are reporting that 85 percent of all enrollees have paid their first month's premium.

Latino enrollment now stands at 305,106 or 28 percent of the total enrollment. From the end of March to April 13, Latino enrollment increased at a rate of 30 percent, and has cleared the base projection of 265,000.

Enrollment of young adults 18 to 34 years old finished at 29 percent of the consumers who have selected a Covered California health insurance plan. This age group represents about 25 percent of the state's population but approximately 36 percent of those who are eligible for subsidies. Also, about 36 percent of those newly enrolled in Medi-Cal are young adults 18 to 34 years old.

Lee praised his staff and partners for helping consumers "cross the finish line" after Covered California's decision to allow consumers who had difficulty accessing the enrollment portal on March 31 to complete their applications by April 15.

During the six-month period, 41 percent of all consumers self-enrolled for coverage through the Covered California website. Certified Insurance Agents enrolled 39 percent of all consumers, while Covered California Certified Enrollment Counselors and Service Center Representatives each enrolled about 9 percent.

Of the subsidy-eligible consumers who enrolled in the exchange through April 15, 809,085, or about 58 percent of the total, signed up for a Silver plan, the second-least expensive plan of the four metal tiers. About 88 percent of consumers across all tiers received some sort of financial assistance.

Enrollment in Covered California private health insurance plans hit 1,221,727 through March 31. March was the highest single month of enrollment, with more than 416,000 people signing up for a health insurance plan.

In Covered California's Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), 1,156 small businesses — representing about 4,900 employees and their dependents — have enrolled for coverage through March 31. Enrollment in SHOP is available year round.

Although the open-enrollment deadline has passed for Covered California health insurance plans, enrollment in Medi-Cal continues year-round. Individuals who would like their eligibility determined for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal can apply at www.CoveredCA.com.

For statistical data graphs, go to http://news.coveredca.com/2014/04/covered-californias-historic-first-open.html.

[About Covered California:  Covered California is the state's marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.   Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California's consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.]

[About the Department of Health Care Services:  The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) works to preserve and improve the physical and mental health of all Californians. DHCS provides health care services for approximately 9.4 million Californians through Medi-Cal, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services and long-term services and supports.  This is accomplished through an investment of approximately $70 billion annually in public funds for the care of low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and persons with disabilities. DHCS focuses on delivering quality, effective services primarily through coordinated systems of care provided by 21 Medi-Cal managed care plans located in all of California's 58 counties. For more information about DHCS, please visit www.dhcs.ca.gov.]




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