News Release

Date Posted

Covered California and California Department of Health Care Services Release October Statistics for Health Insurance Marketplace

Numbers Surge and Momentum Builds as Consumer Experience in Enrollment Process Improves

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California™ and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced today that applications were started for an estimated 370,000 individuals seeking coverage in October under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, pointing to strong consumer enrollment interest in a Covered California health plan or a low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal plan.

Of those who started the application process, nearly 86,000 were determined to be eligible to participate in subsidized or unsubsidized coverage through Covered California. And 72,007 were determined to be likely eligible for Medi-Cal, with coverage beginning in January 2014.

“The numbers are better than encouraging. They show momentum and very high consumer interest,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “As anticipated, consumers spent October comparing plans and educating themselves about their health care options, including financial assistance options.

“Beyond the high interest seen, we are also experiencing a significant growth in the number of applications and in actual enrollment during the latter part of October and in November.”

In October, 30,830 individuals, or about a thousand per day, enrolled in health care coverage through Covered California. Through Nov. 12, another 29,000 individuals not only were determined to be eligible, but also selected and enrolled in their Covered California health insurance plan — more than seven weeks in advance of when coverage will begin. Since Oct. 1, more than 59,000 individuals have enrolled in Covered California health insurance plans.

DHCS Director Toby Douglas said the positive interest in Covered California and the new opportunities for Californians to obtain coverage are also evident in the enrollment in low-cost and no-cost Medi-Cal coverage.

“These early results demonstrate that the Covered California marketplace is easing access to high-quality, low-cost and no-cost health insurance through Medi-Cal,” said Douglas. “It’s important to note that much of our success stems from our long-standing, productive alliances with county health care partners, as we continue to work together for a stronger, healthier California.”

In addition to releasing the enrollment figures, Covered California and DHCS released the results of surveys of those who completed the enrollment process during the last three weeks of October. Overall, nearly 70 percent of consumers who completed the survey found the application process easy to complete, and 88 percent of customers visiting the found the information needed to choose a health plan that was right for them.

“The fact that the majority of consumers who actually used the website to enroll found it ‘easy’ should put to rest the drumbeat of stories about glitches and website problems and instead focus on the big story that Californians are enrolling in care easily and every day,” said Lee. In addition, “the stories of individual Californians who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act are moving and inspiring.”

What was right for many consumers included affordability. Of those who enrolled in Covered California health plans during October, nearly 26,000 did so even though they were ineligible for premium assistance.

“Clearly, this shows that there is affordability for consumers even without federal subsidies,” said Lee. “Those who qualify for premium assistance will soon recognize the advantages they have in enrolling in Covered California health care plans.”

More Than the Numbers — Consumers’ Voices About Enrolling Through Covered California

Consumer response to Covered California health insurance plans and Medi-Cal has been positive. Here’s a sample of what people are saying through surveys and social media channels. For more, click here.

“I enrolled online on Monday! No website troubles! Took about 15 minutes! I’ll be saving $628 a month after January 1st! So grateful!” — Lori (via Facebook)

“Using the system was seamless. When I encountered an issue, I was able to chat online with a [customer service representative (CSR)] who quickly assessed my question and asked me to contact customer service by telephone to make the needed changes. I was connected almost immediately to a very helpful CSR who was able to assist with my changes and get me right back on track for choosing a plan.” — Anonymous (via preliminary enrollment application survey)

“Very short wait on phone; helpful cheerful person to talk to. This online app is very easy to complete. Thank you!” — Anonymous (via preliminary enrollment application survey)

“The insurance package I am getting is more comprehensive and way cheaper than the one I've had for the last 9 years. Thank you for creating the marketplace and making the information more accessible and understandable.” — Anonymous (via preliminary enrollment application survey)

Covered California announced that it will release additional data on the first month’s statistics at its upcoming board meeting on Nov. 21, including information on health plans selected, enrollment by region and other factors.

Today’s announcement includes updated numbers of consumer interest in the agency’s health insurance marketplace and Medi-Cal, with 475,944 unique visits to its website and nearly 65,000 calls to its Service Center during the week ending Nov. 9.

chart 1: Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed found the overall enrollment process through Covered California easy to complete.  Chart 2: 88 percent were able to find the information they needed to choose a health plan that is right for them.

Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, nearly 2.5 million unique visits were made to The Service Center handled nearly 250,000 calls during the same period.

About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit

About the Department of Health Care Services
The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) works to preserve and improve the
physical and mental health of all Californians. DHCS provides health care services for more than 8.5 million Californians through Medi-Cal, including medical, dental, mental health, substance use treatment services and long-term services and supports. This is accomplished through an investment of approximately $70 billion annually in public funds for the care of low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and persons with disabilities. DHCS focuses on delivering quality, effective services primarily through the more coordinated systems of care provided by 21 Medi-Cal managed care plans located in all of California’s 58 counties. For more information about DHCS, please visit