It was just a week ago that Nevada Health Connect announced they'll be integrating a form of artificial intelligence software into their enrollee engagement system.

Today, Covered California is the second state-based ACA exchange to announce something similar:

Covered California Collaborates with Google Public Sector to Accelerate and Simplify Health Insurance Enrollment Using AI

  • Google Cloud AI integration will enable Covered California to verify more than 50,000 health care documents with an 84 percent verification rate monthly, providing residents with affordable, high-quality health care options at unprecedented speed.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Covered California, California’s health insurance marketplace, announced today that it is leveraging Google Cloud’s AI solutions to help streamline the organization’s efforts to provide California residents with affordable, quality health insurance.

via Covered California:

La versión en español de este Comunicado puede ser descargada en este enlace.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California has opened the application process for its Navigator Program, with up to $33.9 million to be granted over the next three years to community organizations that help individuals and families become aware of and enroll in health insurance, with a focus on diverse and underserved communities.

The application process will run until March 15. For this Navigator Program funding cycle, the total annual budget has nearly doubled, increasing from $6.5 million to up to $11.3 million per year.

“Covered California’s success over the past decade is due in great part to the tremendous Navigator Program grantees that have helped Californians understand their health care options and get the coverage they need,” Executive Director Jessica Altman said. “The increased funding this year is a testament to the effectiveness of this program and will help strengthen our efforts to reach the most vulnerable Californians where they are.”

via Covered California:

With its open-enrollment period ending on Feb. 9, Covered California announced that a record number of Californians have selected health plans for 2024.

As of Jan. 31, there are 1,784,653 Californians who have chosen a health plan through Covered California for 2024, with 306,382​ new enrollees and 1,478,271 renewing their coverage. The total surpasses the previous high set in 2022.

The increased federal subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act paired with California’s new cost-sharing reduction program for 2024 helped create the highest number of new sign-ups during an open-enrollment period since 2020. Consumers have until midnight on Feb. 9 to enroll in coverage that would be effective as of Feb. 1.

Hmmm...via Covered California:

Covered California announced today that it will give consumers until Feb. 9 to sign up for coverage in 2024.

“We’ve seen record-breaking enrollment nationally, and Covered California is surging with heightened demand,” said Covered California Executive Director Jessica Altman. “We want any Californian who needs health insurance to have the opportunity to get covered for the rest of 2024, and extending the open-enrollment period will ensure they have the time they need.”

In addition to the increased demand, consumers looking to enroll in recent days may have encountered challenges reaching Covered California representatives over the phone, and many this week have experienced longer than expected wait times. This was due in part to a disruption to Covered California’s service center, which was temporarily taken offline in immediate response to a cybersecurity incident affecting a third-party vendor that supports its phone lines.

Hmmm...that's the actual headline in the press release, but the actual numbers may tell a slightly different story...

via Covered California:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Heading into the final week of open enrollment, Covered California has continued to see signups surge. As of Jan. 20, over 243,000​ Californians have newly enrolled in coverage for 2024, a 13 percent increase over the same period last year. Over 1.5 million Covered California enrollees have renewed their coverage.

There is still time for uninsured Californians to sign up for coverage through Covered California, but only until Jan. 31.

“If you don’t have health insurance for yourself or your family, now is the time to enroll,” said Covered California Executive Director Jessica Altman. “With enhanced federal subsidies and a new state program to lower out-of-pocket costs, there has never been more help available to make quality health insurance more affordable and more attainable.”

As I noted a month ago, as of January 1st, 2024, California extended Medicaid (Medi-Cal) eligibility to around 700,000 more undocumented residents:

On Jan. 1, immigrants may qualify for Medi-Cal regardless of legal status

...Milagro and her husband are among the more than 700,000 immigrants ages 26-49 expected to newly qualify for full health insurance come Jan. 1. That’s when California takes the final step in opening up Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low-income residents, to everyone who meets eligibility requirements, regardless of their immigration status.

Because of this, I admit to scratching my head at first when I read this article from the Redwood City Pulse:

via Covered California:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With a key deadline coming up on Dec. 31, Covered California announced that 161,670 people have signed up for 2024 coverage as of Dec. 23 during this open enrollment, marking an 18 percent increase over the same period last year and the highest during this same period in four years.

Another 1,571,559 Californians have renewed their coverage so far.

That's 1,733,229 QHP selections to date. By comparison, last year the combined new+renewal enrollment in CA was 1,676,616 through 12/24, meaning the 2024 Open Enrollment Period is actually running more like 5.3% higher than last year on a per day basis:

Good grief. I have no idea how I missed this legislation. I had read about and even written about it several times over the past several years, but I sort of lost track of it since the COVID pandemic hit.

Back in 2016, California passed a bill which extened eligibility for Medi-Cal (California's brand name for Medicaid) to around 170,000 undocumented children statewide...although this ultimately ended up resulting in around 250,000 children being added to the roles.

Then, in 2019, California's expansion of Medicaid to undocumented residents moved to the next phase: Around 100,000 more young undocumented adults aged 19 - 25 years old.

Originally posted 7/26/23; updated 11/02/23

via Covered California:

Covered California’s Health Plans and Rates for 2024: More Affordability Support and Consumer Choices Will Shield Many From Rate Increase

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced its health plans and rates for the 2024 coverage year with a preliminary weighted average rate increase of 9.6 percent.

The rate change can be attributed to many factors, including a continued rise in health care utilization following the pandemic, increases in pharmacy costs, and inflationary pressures in the health care industry, such as the rising cost of care, labor shortages and salary and wage increases.

via Covered California:

Los Angeles, Calif. — Covered California kicked off its 2024 open-enrollment period at the iconic Los Angeles State Historic Park and Roundhouse Bridge, a public space that serves some of the most vulnerable communities in the state, with roots that connect back to the early history of the city and region…

Covered California Executive Director Jessica Altman was joined by California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and Assemblymember Miguel Santiago of California’s 54th district to launch open enrollment. They highlighted how record financial help — through enhanced federal premium support and a new program in California that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for over 650,000 consumers — is bridging the gap between uninsured Californians and access to affordable coverage and quality care.