CoveredCA

There's a lot to unpack in this press release from Covered California:

Covered California Hits Record Enrollment, Providing Important Lessons for the Nation on Meeting Americans’ Health Care Needs During the Pandemic and Major Economic Downturn

  • Covered California’s investments in marketing and outreach, along with consumer-first polices, helped it reach a record enrollment of 1.53 million people.
  • The record enrollment was bolstered by 289,000 people who signed up for coverage during the COVID-19 special-enrollment period, including 21 percent who were previously uninsured and likely ineligible to enroll under federal rules.

That's roughly 61,000 Californians who were able to enroll in ACA exchange policies specifically due to CA having an open SEP (that is, no requirement of coverage loss/etc. to do so).

this just in via Covered California:

Covered California Opens New Paths to Coverage for Wildfire Victims and Those Who Lose Their Job or Income During the Pandemic and Recession

  • Covered California establishes a new special-enrollment period to benefit victims of the 500+ wildfires raging across the state.
  • In addition, Covered California announced new paths to coverage that will run through the end of 2020, for Californians who have lost employment or income due to the pandemic and resulting recession.
  • The moves come during ongoing uncertainty in the lives of Californians caused by the wildfires and the continuing fight against COVID-19.
  • More than 271,000 people have signed up for coverage through Covered California since the exchange’s initial announcement of a special-enrollment period in response to the pandemic.
  • La versión en español de este Comunicado puede ser descargada en este enlace.

Just out from Covered California:

California’s Efforts to Build on the Affordable Care Act Lead to a Record-Low Rate Change for the Second Consecutive Year

  • The preliminary rate change for California’s individual market will be 0.6 percent in 2021, which marks a record low for the second consecutive year and follows California’s reforms to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.
  • Covered California’s increased enrollment, driven by state policies and significant investments in marketing and outreach, has resulted in California having one of the healthiest individual market consumer pools and lower costs for consumers.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on health plans’ costs has been less than anticipated as many people deferred or avoided health care services in 2020, and while those costs are rebounding, it now appears the pandemic will have little effect on the total costs of care in California’s individual market for 2020 and 2021.
  • All 11 health insurance companies will return to the market for 2021, and two carriers will expand their coverage areas, giving virtually all Californians a choice of two carriers and 88 percent the ability to choose from three carriers or more.
  • Covered California approved a $440 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21 that includes a $30 million increase in marketing investments and $13 million for additional customer service upgrades to meet the needs of consumers. 
  • The increased spending, which represents a 16 percent increase over last year’s budget, comes amid continued uncertainty in the lives and livelihoods of Californians as public health officials fight against the spread of COVID-19.
  • The budget also calls for greater investments in information technology to improve efficiency, as well as increased efforts to help inform state and national policy on health care-related issues.
  • More than 209,000 people have signed up for coverage through Covered California since the exchange announced a special-enrollment period, which runs through the end of July, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

via Covered California:

Statement from Peter V. Lee on Protecting Individuals from Discrimination Based on Categories Like Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee released the following statement following the federal administration’s June 12 rule that eliminates preexisting federal rules protecting individuals from discrimination based on categories like gender identity and sexual orientation:

“Covered California continues to make quality health care coverage more accessible and affordable to Californians of all ages, religions, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identities, races, ethnicities and national origins. We’ve built upon the Affordable Care Act’s landmark market reforms to ensure that no one can be turned away from coverage, and that once enrolled they would have access to affordable, high-quality care.

I already called attention to this in my last post, but it's so long & filled with data wonk stuff that I'm reposting a separate entry to specifically highlight the SEP specifically:

  • Covered California is announcing a special-enrollment period through April 30 to address concerns that many Californians remain unaware of the new financial help or the new state penalty.

Hmmmm....the Special Enrollment Period is interesting. HealthCare.Gov and some state exchanges did something like this in spring 2015 (the first year people had to actually pay the mandate penalty) and managed to get around 210,000 more enrollees nationally. Of course, the penalty for 2014 was only $95 or 1% of income at the time...now it's up to $695/person or 2.5% of household income, so it's a bigger deal.

New Special-Enrollment Period Announced

When I last checked in on Covered California a couple of weeks ago, they still had two days left before their 2020 Open Enrollment deadline, and had managed to rack up 1.51 million on-exchange enrollments. This included 1.15 million renewals of existing enrollees, plus another 364,000 new enrollees.

I noted at the time that they had just barely beaten 2019's total with two days to go, and would have to add about 7,500 more to break 2018's total, and another 43,000 to beat 2017.

Well, they ended up in between the two, partly due to an overestimate of the renewal figure:

New California Policies Make Huge Difference, Increasing New Signups During Covered California’s Open Enrollment by 41 Percent

New Special-Enrollment Period Announced to Continue to Get Word Out on New Subsidies and Penalty

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.

This came out while I was in DC for the Families USA conference...

Covered California’s New Enrollment Surges Past Last Year’s Mark with More than a Week Before the Upcoming Jan. 31 Deadline

  • More than 318,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, surpassing last year’s open enrollment total.
  • However, new research shows that many Californians – particularly the uninsured – are unaware of a new state law which requires people to have health insurance or face a penalty.
  • In addition, many Californians are unaware of the new financial help that is available for the first time this year, including first-in-the-nation assistance for middle-income consumers.
  • Open enrollment, which continues through Jan. 31, is the one time when people can sign up for health insurance in the individual market without needing a qualifying life event.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced new enrollment data as it moved into the final week of open-enrollment and continued to reach out to consumers about the new state penalty and additional financial help that went into effect with the new year.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 22, more than 318,000 consumers had newly signed up for health insurance through Covered California during the current open-enrollment period, which surpassed last year’s total of 295,000.

via Covered California...

he commemoration of Dr. King’s 91st birthday will include parades in both Los Angeles and Sacramento where Covered California will participate.

Covered California representatives, including executive director Peter V. Lee, will join members of Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in participating in Los Angeles’ Kingdom Day Parade.

In addition, Covered California staff will join thousands of others in Sacramento’s March for the Dream parade.

Covered California is committed to ensuring that the rich diversity of people in the state have access to quality health care.

Open enrollment is underway, and people have through Jan. 31 to sign up for coverage and see if they are eligible for financial help.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California will help celebrate the 91st birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, by having a contingent of leaders honor the civil rights icon by participating in parades in both Los Angeles and Sacramento.

This Just In via Covered California:

Covered California Continues to See Strong Interest and Reminds Consumers That Penalty Is Back for 2020 as Open-Enrollment Deadline Approaches

  • More than 269,000 consumers have newly enrolled during the current open-enrollment period, which continues in California through Jan. 31.
  • A new law requires Californians to have health insurance in 2020 or face a penalty when they file their taxes with the Franchise Tax Board in 2021.
  • The penalty can be $2,000 or more for a family of four.
  • New research shows that many Californians, particularly the uninsured, are unaware of the new penalty or the new financial help that is available for the first time this year.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced new data as it approaches the final two weeks of the annual open-enrollment period and reminded consumers about the new state penalty and additional financial help that went into effect with the new year.

As of Saturday, Jan. 4, more than 269,000 consumers had newly signed up for health insurance through Covered California during the current open-enrollment period, which is an increase of 18 percent above the number of consumers who had enrolled at this time last year. In addition, more than 1.15 million existing Covered California members have renewed their coverage for 2020.

Last year, California passed several important bills related to expanding coverage in their ACA exchange, Covered California. Two of the biggest changes were the expansion of subsidies to middle-class enrollees earning 400-600% FPL (as well as enhancing subsidies for existing enrollees), and the reinstatement of the individual mandate penalty (the revenue from which is actually supposed to be used to help finance the expanded subsidies).

Just before Christmas, I noted that there may be a major awareness problem with the first of these:

Again, there's still another five full weeks of Open Enrollment in California (six, if you include the missing data from last week). As I've noted, they'll have to add at least 134,000 total enrollees to beat last year, or nearly 200,000 to beat their all-time high. From the looks of things, they're on track to hit that 615K figure in the 200-400% range, but the 400-600% range is gonna be a much steeper climb...which is ironic since that's the population which is eligible for the most dramatic price cuts.

A couple of weeks ago, Covered California reported that as of December 7th, over 486,000 residents were taking advantage of their newly-expanded & enhanced state ACA subsidies:

...More than 486,000 individuals have been determined eligible for the new state subsidy, including about 23,000 in the 400 to 600 percent range of the federal poverty level, which could extend to an individual making up to $74,940 and family of four with a household income of up to $154,500. Of those in this income range who have signed up through Covered California, 44 percent have been found eligible for the state financial assistance.

...If I'm following correctly, the total breakout is:

  • 777,000 = either 138 - 200% FPL or not eligible for any subsidies
  • 463,000 = 200 - 400% FPL; receiving both federal & state subsidies
  • 23,000 = 400-600% FPL; receiving state subsidies only

The press release also broke out the household average for the new/expanded subsidies:

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