California: CoveredCA ramping up 2020 Open Enrollment outreach w/ad campaign promoting Expanded Subsidy Availability


I'm very pleased to see this.

I've made quite a bit of fuss about California expanding availability of ACA financial subsidies to those earning 400 - 600% of the Federal Poverty Line ($75K for a single person, $154K for a family of four). The subsidies aren't massive for most people, but for hundreds of thousands of Californians--especially older folks earning between 400 - 450% FPL--this is a huge savings. In addition, they're sweetening the subsidies somewhat for those already receiving ACA tax credits.

The only real concern I had about this is whether enough people in California know about it. Just like with reinstating the mandate penalty (which California has also done this year), expanding & enhancing ACA subsidies isn't gonna cause a spike in enrollment if no one knows they're available. A lot of people who might have checked into it in prior years isn't likely to bother taking another look if they don't know that the income cut-off threshold has gone up, and many others have never bothered trying in the first place because they "heard somewhere" that they won't qualify.

Fortunately, CoveredCA is aware of all this and is on the case:

Covered California Begins Statewide Marketing and Outreach Campaign to Promote Open Enrollment for 2020 and Launches New Television Ads to Promote State Subsidies

  • Covered California is beginning its statewide marketing and outreach campaign to educate consumers about the open enrollment period for 2020 and the new state subsidies that are available for the first time.
  • New television ads titled “You Shouldn’t Have To,” will begin airing today and focus on the idea that consumers should not have to choose between the life they have built and the care they need.
  • New data shows that eligible middle-income families who qualify for a state subsidy are receiving an average of $526 per month per household.
  • Covered California is also partnering with sport celebrities, such as Laila Ali and boxing champion Leo Santa Cruz, to get the word out and encourage consumers to see if they are eligible for new financial help.
  • Consumers who sign up by Dec. 15 will have coverage starting Jan. 1. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2020 and consumers who choose to go without coverage could face a penalty when they file their taxes.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California launched its statewide marketing and outreach campaign on Monday, to educate consumers about the current open enrollment period and the new state subsidies that are available for the first time.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows about the new state subsidies that are already helping people across the state save money on their monthly health insurance premiums,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “California is making coverage more affordable for low-income families, and we are making history by becoming the first state in the nation to provide financial help to middle-income families like small-businesses owners and the self-employed.”

New Television Ad Campaign

Covered California’s television ad campaign, titled “You Shouldn’t Have To,” will begin airing statewide today. The ads center around the idea that you should not have to make tough choices just because you do not have health insurance. The ads state, “You shouldn’t have to live with pain. You shouldn’t have to pretend you’re fine… You shouldn’t have to choose between the life you’ve built and the care you need.”

See the new television ads in English and Spanish here.

“These ads seek to bring to life the reality still faced by too many uninsured Californians,” said Lee, “Getting coverage is the path to avoid living with pain, missing preventive care and worrying about dollars instead of getting the treatment you deserve.”

In addition, Covered California is also launching ads titled, “In Your Corner,” which detail how Covered California works for consumers and their families by providing access to quality care and protecting them from financial risk if they ever have expensive medical bills.

Those ads will air in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Korean.

New State Subsidies

This year’s open enrollment period features some of the biggest changes since Covered California first began offering coverage in 2014. First, two new state initiatives – the state subsidy program and the restoration of the individual mandate – were key elements in Covered California’s record-low 0.8 percent rate increase for the upcoming year.

The new state subsidies are already helping consumers who have selected a plan for 2020. New data shows that the over 600,000 eligible low-income consumers who qualify for a subsidy are receiving an average of $19 per month per household, while eligible middle-income Californians who receive a subsidy are getting an average of $526 per month per household.

Open enrollment started just under three weeks ago. While preliminary, early data shows that 85 percent of eligible low-income Californians are qualifying for a state subsidy on top of their federal tax credits, and about 50 percent of middle-class Californians across the state with household incomes between 400 and 600 percent federal poverty level are finding out they are eligible to receive a state subsidy starting in January. In general, those not qualifying for a state subsidy either chose a plan that already costs only $1 per member per month after federal credits, or already have a benchmark silver plan that costs less per month as a share of household income than the required contribution under the new law and will benefit directly from the low premium increase.

“We have heard from people across the state who will be saving hundreds of dollars a month because California is putting its people first,” Lee said.“Whether you never thought you could get financial help, or if you have checked before, you need to check again because there is new money available that may dramatically reduce the cost of your coverage.”

The new state subsidies could extend to an individual making up to $74,940 and family of four with a household income of up to $154,500.

See the table that shows which incomes could qualify for the California State Subsidy.

Teaming Up with Sport Celebrities

Finally, Covered California is also teaming up with sport celebrities who are trusted voices and committed to healthy lifestyles to help spread the word that now is the time to sign up for health coverage through Covered California.

On Monday Covered California joined Laila Ali and Leo Santa Cruz at an event at The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles to highlight the importance of being healthy.

Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, television host, a four-time undefeated boxing world champion, and the daughter of the global icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali.

Santa Cruz is the current World Boxing Association Featherweight Super Champion. Raised and based in Los Angeles, he’s described as “one of the must-see fighters of his generation” and well-known for this non-stop effort in the ring.

Both Ali and Santa Cruz know how important health is to not only their own athletic and fitness careers, but also their families as both have been touched by health-related issues. Muhammad Ali fought Parkinson’s Disease for more than 30 years, while Santa Cruz’s father and trainer – Jose – has been battling multiple myeloma cancer since 2016.

“In every area of my life, I put my health first. Whether it’s by staying active, eating healthy or, most importantly, getting health insurance,” Ali said. “Covered California makes it easy to get enrolled in affordable coverage that works for you and your family - so you can succeed at home, work and play.”

“As an athlete, health care has always been an important part of my life, and with Covered California it’s easier now than ever to get covered,” Santa Cruz added. “I am so thankful that when my dad was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, we never had to wonder how our medical bills would be paid or if a treatment would be covered. I want the best team in my corner when I’m boxing, and with Covered California everyone has a true advocate in their corner.”

Enroll Now

Enrolling for coverage now is critical because California restored the penalty that was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2014 through 2018, meaning consumers who do not get covered could face a fine when they file their 2020 taxes in the spring of 2021.

For those facing a penalty, a family of four would pay at least $2,000, and potentially more, for not having health insurance throughout 2020.

“Consumers need to take action now during open enrollment,” Lee said. “This is when people can sign up to get health insurance and avoid the potential of a big surprise when they file their taxes in 2021.”

Consumers will need to sign up by Dec. 15 in order to have their coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2020. Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2020.