CHA News Article

Covered California Executive Director Testifies Before Congressional Committees
Reports that Covered California and DHCS have signed up more than 3 million consumers

Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee testified before two congressional panels yesterday, highlighting the successes and lessons learned from Covered California’s first open-enrollment period. Lee also reported that more than 3 million California consumers enrolled in Covered California health insurance plans or in Medi-Cal by March 31. According to Lee, enrollment in Covered California private health insurance plans reached 1,221,727 through March 31, with enhanced outreach boosting enrollment among Latinos and Californians 18-34 years old. Additionally, Covered California more than doubled the base projection for Asian enrollment and has met the base projection for African-American enrollment.

Medi-Cal enrolled approximately 1.9 million people through the end of March, including 1.1 million through the Covered California portal and county offices, approximately 650,000 former Low Income Health Program members who were transitioned to Medi-Cal by the California Department of Health Care Services and 180,000 individuals who applied through the state’s Express Lane program.

Lee noted that with Covered California’s decision allowing consumers who had difficulty accessing the enrollment portal on March 31 to now complete their applications by April 15, the final enrollment number for Covered California health insurance plans and for Medi-Cal enrollment will be higher.

Highlights from Lee’s testimony include:

  • Enrollment into subsidized coverage represented 87 percent of enrollments (1,068,649); enrollment into non-subsidized coverage represented 13 percent of enrollments (153,079).
  • The 18-34 age segment accounts for 28.2 percent of the total enrollment.
  • The cumulative total of Latino enrollment in March increased to 26.3 percent and is anticipated to reach its base projection of 265,000 by April 15.
  • Far more subsidy-eligible enrollees are selecting silver and bronze plans. In subsidized enrollment, 24 percent of consumers selected bronze plans, while 67 percent selected silver plans. In unsubsidized enrollment, 35 percent of consumers selected bronze plans, while 30 percent selected silver plans.
  • At the end of this first open-enrollment period, 4.3 million people had completed their applications for health coverage.
  • Health insurance companies report that more than 85 percent of those who enrolled are paying their premium and getting coverage. If that trend continues, more than 1 million Californians are on their way to coverage through Covered California.

Consumers who created an online account and completed the first page of the application by 11:59 p.m. on March 31 will be able to return online to complete their application or find a certified assister to help them finish the process before April 15. Consumers who were unable to start their online application because of technical difficulties can contact Covered California Service Center representatives, Covered California Certified Enrollment Counselors, Covered California Certified Insurance Agents, Certified Plan-Based Enrollers and county eligibility workers to help them finish their enrollment. They can simply explain that they attempted to get through on March 31 but experienced difficulties. Those consumers will have until 11:59 p.m. on April 15 to work with the assister, complete their applications and choose a plan.

Although the open-enrollment deadline has passed for Covered California health insurance plans, enrollment in Medi-Cal continues year-round. Individuals who would like their eligibility determined for low-cost/no-cost Medi-Cal can apply at www.CoveredCA.com.

The full text of Lee’s testimony can be found online at http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Lee-CA.pdf.

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