News Release

Date Posted

Covered California's Executive Director: We're Open for Business

“We’re open for business and enrolling thousands of Californians every day.” That’s what I say when people ask what Covered California is doing now that our historic first open-enrollment period has come to an end. We need you to get the message out that Covered California is still very “open for business.”

By the end of March, 1.4 million people had embraced this new era of health care and selected a Covered California health insurance plan, with many more signing up for Medi-Cal through our website and with the help of thousands across the state. Today the opportunity to get covered still exists for many Californians, and we’re doing everything we can to let people know.

Covered California's special enrollment period is open for those 
with life-changing events, if you are eligible for Medi-Cal and,
for a limited time, if you are on COBRA
If you, a friend or a neighbor has had a major change of circumstance — whether it’s the joyful moment marked by getting married, the day a child is born, or the challenge you face when you lose your health care coverage because you’ve changed jobs — you can still sign up for a quality, affordable health care to protect yourself and your family. You would still be potentially eligible for financial help to reduce your costs, and you couldn’t be turned away by an insurance company. In addition, if you are eligible for Medi-Cal, you can enroll year round.

During our “special-enrollment period,” from April to November, you can sign up for coverage as long as you do so within 60 days of the qualifying life event. The most common reasons that make someone eligible are:

  • You lose your health care coverage because you’ve lost or changed jobs.
  • You get married or enter a domestic partnership.
  • You have a baby, adopt a child or place a child in adoption or in a foster home.
  • You move and gain access to new Covered California health insurance plans that were not available where you previously lived.
  • You become a citizen, national or lawfully present individual.

We know that these moments happen in the lives of thousands of Californians every day, and our special enrollment is a chance for these people to get the protection and peace of mind that they deserve. And the good news is that thousands are signing up every day.

For a limited time, a special-enrollment period is also open to Californians who are covered through COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). For more than three decades, COBRA coverage has allowed people who lost their employer-sponsored health care coverage to keep their plan, if they paid the full cost plus a 2 percent administrative fee. We estimate that about 300,000 Californians have insurance through COBRA or CalCOBRA (the state program that extends the post-work coverage option for an additional 18 months).

For many people on COBRA, plans in Covered California could be better options, thanks to the good rates we negotiated for consumers and thanks to the possibility of federal financial assistance and cost-sharing reductions that are available only through health exchanges like Covered California. This financial help could save Californians on COBRA hundreds of dollars a month and thousands of dollars a year. And many Californians can get a better deal even without a financial subsidy.

The special-enrollment period for COBRA beneficiaries ends on July 15. For more information, visit

Special enrollment for those with life-changing events will be available to all eligible Californians until open enrollment resumes in the fall. For more information, visit And remember: When in doubt, tell your friends to apply. They may be eligible for Medi-Cal and not realize it.

If you qualify for any of these opportunities, you can apply at the Covered California website and click on the “Special Enrollment” button. You can also contact one of our Certified Enrollment Counselors or Certified Insurance Agents, or you can call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.

We’re hard at work planning for the next open-enrollment period, but with your help we will continue to make California a better place to live for thousands of families. Thanks for helping us get the word out.