Report Details California’s Progress to Successfully Implement the Affordable Care Act
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today, Covered California™ released its fiscal year 2012-2013 annual “Report to the Governor and the Legislature,” detailing its progress to implement the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in California.
“In three years, Covered California has grown from an idea in federal and state law to a robust public entity within state government working to implement provisions to provide affordable health coverage for millions of eligible Californians,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We are confident California will continue to lead the way in successful implementation of the nation’s most significant health reform since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.”
The report provides details about how the new marketplace works, including scenarios of premiums and plan options; describes the steps that have been taken to encourage enrollment in health coverage; and provides information about the offerings for small businesses.
Enrollment in Covered California began on Oct. 1, 2013, for health coverage starting Jan. 1, 2014. Health coverage available starting Jan. 1 will be subject to new market rules that provide consumers more protection and ensure that coverage is more affordable for those not covered by Medicare or employer-based health insurance. In addition, beginning Jan. 1, Medi-Cal is expanding to include a new coverage group, which includes childless adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
“As of October 2013, thousands of Californians started the enrollment process and will take advantage of subsidies to buy quality insurance,” said Lee.
Covered California, working in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, projects that by January 2015, more than 1 million Californians will enroll using federal subsidies, and another 1 million will be new to Medi-Cal. In addition, Covered California projects that more than 1.7 million Californians will benefit from the new insurance rules and get coverage without a subsidy — some purchasing through Covered California, and some on the individual market.
Covered California offers options for shopping online, with fact sheets and comparison charts that make it easier for consumers to select their coverage. Through the Covered California website — www.CoveredCA.com — consumers can view available health insurance plans and premium amounts based on their specific circumstances.
Recognizing the diversity of the state, the entire website and all of its application tools are available in both English and Spanish, and consumer tools are available in more than a dozen languages. Californians may also use the Covered California marketplace to find out if they qualify for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal.
“Covered California is about helping Californians find the peace of mind that comes with having affordable, quality health care coverage,” said Lee. “For example, a single mom with three kids in Long Beach who earns $35,000 a year could pay as little as $89 per month in premiums, and her children would qualify for no-cost Medi-Cal. Individuals and families interested in obtaining coverage can check out the website; call 1 (800) 300-1506; or get help from Certified Enrollment Counselors, Certified Insurance Agents, county eligibility workers or Certified Educators.”
Initial Covered California marketing efforts began in September 2013 in advance of the Oct. 1, 2013, open-enrollment date. Community organizations have also begun mobilizing to educate individuals who need insurance. And on Oct. 1, Covered California started a broad marketing campaign that will go through 2014.
Since its enactment in March 2010, the Affordable Care Act has improved health insurance quality and affordability in tangible ways for millions of people in California. Among other changes, benefits such as free preventive services, cancer screenings and an annual wellness visit have expanded; insurers are now prohibited from setting lifetime limits on essential health benefits, such as hospital stays; and insurers are no longer allowed to re-examine customers’ initial applications to cancel their coverage due to unintentional mistakes or minor omissions.
The Covered California fiscal year 2012-2013 annual “Report to the Governor and the Legislature” is available at https://www.coveredca.com/resources/PDFs/2013_leg_report.pdf.
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 www.CoveredCA.com.