CHA News Article

Covered California Releases 2019 Rate Book

Last week, Covered California released its 2019 rate book, which provides information on plans and rates for the upcoming year. Covered California has tentatively selected 11 health insurance companies that will be available for enrollment starting Oct. 15 for coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2019. The overall weighted average rate change for existing consumers who renew coverage in the same plan will be 8.7 percent. Net premiums — the amount consumers pay out of pocket, after subsidies — will rise an average of 6 percent. Notably, elimination of the individual mandate penalty has prompted carriers to add between 2.5 and 6 percent to their rates, with an average of 3.5 percent, to account for a potentially less healthy and more costly consumer pool. Without elimination of the penalty, Covered California’s rate change would be closer to 5 percent.

More than 96 percent of consumers will have at least two health insurance companies to choose from, and 82 percent will be able to choose from three or more. The rate book includes detailed information about each participating company’s benefits and specific care models. However, the included rate information is preliminary and subject to public regulatory review.

The rate book also includes data on Covered California’s progress since its inception in 2014. Today, it enrolls 1.4 million consumers, making it the largest state-based marketplace in the U.S. This progress, combined with Medi-Cal expansion, has helped California reduce its uninsured rate from 17 percent to a record low of 6.8 percent last year.