California: 1.51 million QHPs; ONE MORE DAY to #GetCovered; EXPANDED SUBSIDIES available to more people!

With one day left to go before the 2020 ACA Open Enrollment Period wraps up in California, the largest state ACA exchange in the country issued one more update and call to action:

Covered California Sees Thousands of People Enroll Each Day as it Approaches Friday’s Final Day of Open Enrollment

  • More than 364,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, which ends at midnight on Friday, Jan. 31
  • More than 33,000 people have enrolled since Monday, an average of more than 11,000 people per day.
  • California passed two new laws for 2020, one that requires Californians to have health insurance or face a penalty, while the other offers new financial help – for the first time – to eligible consumers purchasing coverage.

Open enrollment is the one time when people can sign up for health insurance in the individual market without needing a qualifying life event.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With time running out, Covered California announced new enrollment data and encouraged consumers to sign up for coverage before this year’s open-enrollment period ends.

As of Jan. 29, more than 364,000 consumers had newly signed up for health insurance through Covered California during the current open-enrollment period, which is more than 20 percent above last year’s total of 295,000.

CoveredCA had already announced in a couple of previous press releases that "more than 1.15 million" existing enrollees had renewed their coverage for 2020 (either actively or via auto-renewal). Assuming that's still accurate, this puts their total QHP selections for 2020 at over 1,514,000 people...which happens to be exactly what their final tally was last year (1,513,883 to be precise).

That means they've broken 2019's total with 2 days left to go. Assuming enrollments have ramped up each day this week (they said 33K in 3 days averaging 11K/day), they should be able to tack on another 25K - 30K today and tomorrow. If so, they'd also break their 2018 total (1,521,524), although it'd be a big stretch to hit 2017's 1,556,676.

For the record, California's all-time record (as with most states) was in 2016, when they had 1,575,340 QHP selections during Open Enrollment. To beat that they'd have to add over 61,000 people in the final two days, which I just don't see happening, though it'd be nice.

“Open enrollment is coming to an end, and while we have more than 10,000 people signing up every day, we know there are many out there who have not yet done so, and they need to act quickly,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “Californians have until midnight on January 31st to sign up for health coverage and get the protection and peace of mind that they deserve.”

The open-enrollment period runs through Jan. 31 and is the one time of the year when consumers can freely sign up for coverage without having to experience a qualifying life event. People who sign up by the deadline will have their coverage start on Feb. 1.

Two new state laws have highlighted the importance of having health care coverage in 2020.

  • First, the state expanded the amount of financial help available to many consumers, including a first-in-the-nation program to help middle-income consumers afford coverage. The new state subsidies could extend to an individual making up to $74,940 and a family of four with a household income of up to $154,500. The average subsidy for eligible middle-income households is $466 per month. The newly enrolled total noted above may include some middle-income individuals who had coverage off-exchange and moved to Covered California to benefit from the new subsidies.
  • Secondly, people who can afford health insurance coverage, but choose to go without it, could face a penalty when they file their taxes with the California Franchise Tax Board in 2021. The penalty can be more than $2,000 for a family of four.

“We do not want Californians to surprised that they have to write a check to the Franchise Tax Board next year, when they could get coverage that is more affordable than they think,” Lee said. “You can find out within just a few minutes what plans are in your area and how much financial help you can receive, so don’t leave money on the table.”

Californians Can Still Enroll

Consumers can easily find out if they are eligible for financial help and see which plans are available in their area by entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of those who need coverage into Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool.

Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality insurance from top insurance companies. Covered California is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial assistance on a sliding scale to reduce premium costs. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal program.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the health insurance marketplace work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.