News Release

Date Posted

Covered California Extends Enrollment Deadline as Consumer Interest Surges


  • The number of new consumers signing up for coverage remains ahead of last year’s pace, with more than 38,000 selecting a plan during the past three days.
  • Consumers now have until the end of Dec. 22 to sign up for health care coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.
  • Based on the first month’s enrollment, most consumers are paying less for coverage.
  • Covered California is working to distinguish the deadline for open enrollment in California — which ends Jan. 31 — from the shorter period for much of the nation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In response to a strong surge in demand, Covered California is giving consumers more time to sign up for health coverage that will begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

Over the past three days, Covered California has seen more than 38,000 new consumers sign up for coverage, which means that as of Dec. 13 more than 182,000 new consumers have signed up for coverage since open enrollment began. Compared to the same time last year, when 156,000 had signed up, this enrollment marks an increase of 26,000, or 17 percent. Many of these new members are taking advantage of the fact that the cost of coverage is lower than it was last year for most consumers.

“Covered California is seeing a huge influx of consumers, and we know that not everyone is getting through on the phone or is able to get an appointment with a certified enroller,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We’re extending the deadline for Californians to get coverage starting Jan. 1 because we do not want to leave anyone behind. Our responsibility is to make sure we help every single person seeking to enroll get the coverage they need.”

A recent Covered California analysis found that the net monthly premiums for enrollees who receive financial help are on average 10 percent lower than what new and renewing consumers paid last year. The lower prices are a result of more financial help being available for consumers who qualify for assistance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to protect consumers by providing more premium tax credits when premiums rise.

“Covered California wants to make sure that consumers use the increased financial assistance that is available to help bring health care coverage within reach,” Lee said. “Covered California is here for you today, and we will be here for you tomorrow. Now is the time to sign up for health insurance that can protect you and your family.”

Consumers now have until the end of Dec. 22 to sign up for coverage that will begin on Jan. 1. Covered California also wants consumers to know that while the enrollment deadline for most states is Dec. 15, Californians will have through Jan. 31, 2018, to sign up for coverage. While consumers can sign up for coverage after Dec. 22, their coverage will not start until Feb. 1 at the earliest.

After Jan. 31, Covered California will continue to enroll people who have a change in their circumstances — such as losing their insurance when they leave a job — and enrollment in Medi-Cal is not subject to open enrollment. However, if your life situation has not changed, you will not be able to enroll for coverage in the individual market until next year’s open-enrollment period, whether through Covered California or by enrolling directly with a health plan outside the exchange.

Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California from 17 percent in 2013 to a historic low of 6.8 percent as of June 2017.

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to www.CoveredCA.com where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool. They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 800 storefronts statewide, or more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling (800) 300-1506.

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.

Covered California for Small Business Continues to Grow and Announces New Partnership With EaseCentral



  • Covered California for Small Business tops 40,000 members — a 30 percent year-over-year growth.
  • This new partnership means more health insurance choices for employees of California small businesses.
  • EaseCentral’s technology will help consumers and businesses save money by improving efficiencies, reducing errors and speeding up the application-approval process.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A partnership with EaseCentral is the latest advancement for Covered California for Small Business, which has seen its enrollment steadily grow from 14,183 in 2014 to more than 40,000 as of Dec. 1, 2017.

The new partnership, announced on Wednesday, will help the exchange continue its strong growth. Earlier in 2017, Covered California for Small Business announced its 2018 statewide weighted average rate increase of 5.6 percent for employers and their employees, which is down from the 5.9 percent increase in 2017. This was great news for the California small-business community.

EaseCentral will include Covered California for Small Business in its integrated software platform. Employees of small businesses across the state will be able to log on and see the plan choices provided through Covered California for Small Business. The automated system will lead to cost savings and an improved enrollment process for certified agents and the small businesses they work with across the state.

Covered California for Small Business will be offering five health plans in 2018, including two preferred provider organization (PPO) plans with full provider networks, from Blue Shield of California and Health Net, and two health maintenance organizations (HMO) that are provider- and hospital-based, from Kaiser Permanente and Sharp Health Plan. Rounding out the 2018 portfolio is Chinese Community Health Plan in San Francisco.

Businesses with up to 100 employees can apply for health insurance coverage for their workers through Covered California for Small Business. Federal tax credits may be available to employers with 25 or fewer employees. The partnership with EaseCentral will bring these options and choices to business owners across the state.

“By adding this partnership to the many ways we support small business, tens of thousands of small businesses who use EaseCentral will enjoy better connectivity with Certified Insurance Agents and general agents, making enrolling in Covered California for Small Business even easier,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “It is time to move the small-business marketplace into the 21st century’s web-enabled world of e-commerce. It’s a faster, better and a much less costly way of doing business.”

The immediate beneficiaries of this partnership will be California small businesses that provide health care coverage to their employees, since it will virtually eliminate paper enrollment applications and will enable them to renew and perform account maintenance transactions through Covered California for Small Business’s online portals. EaseCentral’s technology can reduce the costs of enrollment and ultimately those savings can be transferred to their employees.

“We believe in technology’s ability to make health care easier,” said David Reid, CEO and cofounder of EaseCentral. “Additionally, the subsequent cost savings are crucial, especially for small businesses. Automation opens the door to reallocating resources, costs and time to other aspects of the company. Time and time again, we’ve seen that investing in the adoption of these tools has a positive impact on the bottom line, in almost every case.”

The partnership will also give more choice to the California small businesses that currently use EaseCentral. The integration was tested by Claremont Insurance Services, a sales leader for Covered California for Small Business. Company president Michael Traynor said his company saw “significant operational efficiencies” while using the platform.

Visit www.CoveredCA.com/forsmallbusiness/for information on how to apply.

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.

Covered California Hits the Road Again Ahead of Key Enrollment Deadline


  • Consumers who want their health insurance to start on Jan. 1, 2018, must sign up for coverage by Dec. 15.
  • While the federal deadline for open enrollment is Dec. 15, Covered California’s open-enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, 2018.
  • Covered California’s “Covered in Art Tour” resumes Tuesday and will make an additional eight stops from Palm Springs to Redding.
  • Based on the first month’s enrollment, most consumers are paying less for coverage.



LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Covered California kicked off an eight-stop bus tour on Tuesday to promote enrollment in health insurance and alert uninsured consumers about a key deadline that is approaching. While Covered California’s open-enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, consumers must sign up by Dec. 15 if they want their coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2018. In addition, a recent analysis shows that the price of coverage is lower than last year for most consumers.

“Covered California is back on the road, making sure that consumers know they need to sign up by Dec. 15 if they want their health care coverage to start at the beginning of the year,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We’re seeing the lower costs to consumers bringing people to our door. We don’t want to leave anyone behind.”

The bus tour will make stops at locations throughout the state where local artists will paint murals to attract attention and promote health and wellness. A total of 16 murals will be painted at sites such as enrollment centers and community buildings.

“The ‘Covered in Art’ project is a living demonstration of the fact that health care is local and that Covered California is woven into the fabric of local communities,” Lee said.

The tour will begin with two stops in Los Angeles before heading to Palm Springs, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento, Chico and Redding.

A recent Covered California analysis found that the net monthly premiums for enrollees who receive financial help are on average 10 percent lower than what new and renewing consumers paid last year. The lower prices are a result of more financial help being available for consumers who qualify for assistance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to protect consumers by providing more premium tax credits when premiums rise.

“With Friday’s deadline to get coverage that starts Jan. 1, we want to make sure that consumers know about the increased financial help that is available to help bring health care coverage within reach,” Lee said.

Covered California also wants consumers to know that while the enrollment deadline for most states is Dec. 15, Californians will have through Jan. 31, 2018, to explore their options and select a plan that best fits their needs. While consumers can sign up for coverage in the month of January, if they wait until then, their coverage will not start until Feb. 1 at the earliest.

Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California by more than half.

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to www.CoveredCA.com where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool. They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 800 storefronts statewide, or more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling (800) 300-1506.

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.



Covered California’s Open Enrollment Continues at a Brisk Pace with New Data Showing Most Consumers Who Renewed and Enrolled in November will Pay Less in 2018


  • More than 102,000 new consumers selected a plan during the first month of open enrollment, a 28 percent increase over the same time period last year.
  • Consumers receiving subsidies who signed up in November will pay 10 percent less per month in 2018 than 2017.
  • 1.2 million Covered California enrollees have been renewed for 2018, similar to last year’s totals.
  • Consumers who want their health insurance to start on Jan. 1, 2018 must sign up by Dec. 15.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced today that more than 102,000 new consumers signed up for coverage during the first month of California’s three month open enrollment period, substantially ahead of last year’s pace when more than 80,000 consumers signed up for coverage. The data covers the period from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30.

“Consumers are continuing to check out their options and take advantage of the lower prices for many enrolling and renewing in coverage,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We know that Californians sign-up when they realize how low their costs are. We’re seeing many Californians shop and enroll because the financial help is bringing coverage within reach for many.”

In addition, a new analysis finds that the net monthly premiums for the 85 percent of Covered California enrollees who get financial help – the price they will pay after a plan’s premium is discounted by the federal subsidy – is an average of 10 percent less than new and renewing consumers paid last year (see Table 1).

The data showed that the average net price for plans selected by new and renewing consumers this year is $120 per month, down from $134 per month at this point last year. And, for those who selected a bronze plan, the average cost for 2018 was only $45 per month, compared to $87 in 2017.

“When you do the math, hundreds of thousands of Californians are the winners – getting quality coverage at lower rates than last year,” Lee said. “Consumers are finding out they can get quality coverage for less than they expect.”

The experience of an individual will vary based on their circumstance, including whether they get subsidies to help purchase coverage, where they live and the plan options they choose. The analysis found that consumers who select a Silver-tier plan are on average paying $3 per month less than they were in 2017, while consumers who select a Gold-tier plan will pay on average $78 less per month.

Table 1:  Comparing Net Prices of Plans Selected for 2017 and 2018 coverage for Californians Receiving Financial Assistance in Covered California[1]
Metal Tier
2017
2018
Difference
Difference in Percent
Bronze
$87
$45
-$43
-49%
Silver
$135
$132
-$3
-2%
Gold
$290
$212
-$78
-27%
Platinum
$360
$286
-$74
-21%
Average
$135
$120
-$14
-10%

[1] Data excludes minimum coverage plan selections, a metal level not available to all consumers.  Net prices mean the amount a consumer pays after accounting for federal financial assistance.

The lower prices are a result of more financial help being available for consumers who qualify for assistance. The Affordable Care Act is designed to protect consumers by providing more premium tax credits when premiums rise.

“With a key deadline coming up, we want to make sure that consumers know about the increased financial help that is available to help bring health care coverage within reach,” Lee said.

Covered California released its enrollment data at the same time as the federal government updated its renewal and new enrollment data for the open enrollment period in the 39 states supported by the federally facilitated marketplace. 

The weekly enrollment snapshot from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that about 989,000 new plan selections had been made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2. While this is 22 percent higher than the estimated 811,000 new enrollment during the same time last year, it is on pace to fall well short of last year’s new enrollment totals because the federal open enrollment period has been cut in half and ends Dec. 15.

“The new enrollment in states supported by the federal marketplace is troubling given there remain only ten days when consumers in those states can benefit from the open enrollment period,” Lee said.  “It’s hard to see how enrollment over the next ten days will come close to last year’s enrollment, which foreshadows spikes in health care premiums in many states in 2019 absent federal action.”

Covered California’s analysis also looked at the prices being paid by consumers who are unsubsidized and do not receive any financial assistance. While subsidized consumers will fare better next year, the average unsubsidized consumer will see an estimated increase of 10 percent.

Using price data for coverage on and off the exchange – where Silver plans are less expensive -- Covered California estimates that unsubsidized consumers will pay an average of $478 for their 2018 Covered California plan. This is based on Covered California plan selections to date for Bronze, Gold and Platinum and ranges from an average of $389 for a Bronze plan to $644 for Platinum coverage (see Table 2).

The price for Silver coverage is estimated to better reflect that price experience most unsubsidized Silver enrollees will have in 2018 because they are able to purchase near-identical Silver-level coverage off-exchange without it including a surcharge to fund the federally required cost-sharing reduction program. Due to uncertainty at the federal level, Covered California directed its carriers to place a “CSR-surcharge” on their Silver products sold on the exchange. The same Silver product sold directly to hundreds of thousands of Californians in the individual market outside of Covered California do not have the CSR-surcharge.

Table 2:  Comparing Prices of Plans Selected for 2017 and 2018 coverage for Californians Who Are NOT Eligible for Financial Assistance

Metal Tier
2017
2018
Difference
Bronze
$354
$389
$35
Silver*
$446
$494
$48
Gold
$491
$546
$55
Platinum
$582
$644
$62
Average
 $436
 $478
$43
*Silver prices are estimated; prices for other tiers reflect actual difference in what unsubsidized enrollees are paying for 2018 coverage based on enrollment as of Nov. 30. The average unsubsidized Silver gross premium shown is an estimate based on current 2018 enrollment data and prior Covered California analysis that cost sharing reduction (CSR) surcharges represents approximately 10.1% of the actual 2018 gross silver premiums.

“Contrary to the national narrative that health insurance prices are skyrocketing, our data shows that most Covered California consumers are actually paying less in 2018 for subsidized coverage, and even those not receiving financial help face average increases of 10 percent in 2018,” Lee said.

Consumers who want their insurance coverage to begin on Jan. 1, 2018 must enroll by Dec. 15, but -- unlike a majority of other states in the nation -- California’s open enrollment period continues through Jan. 31, 2018.

Consumers who purchase coverage on the individual market outside the Covered California exchange do not have to pay the cost-sharing surcharge placed on those with unsubsidized Silver coverage in the exchange. For this reason, consumers who have unsubsidized coverage in the exchange should consider switching metal tiers or enrolling in a Silver plan directly through their insurance company to ensure they get the best value.

Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California by more than half.

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to www.CoveredCA.com where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the “Shop and Compare” tool. They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 800 storefronts statewide or more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling (800) 300-1506.

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.