Monday, March 31, 2014

Covered California Updates Enrollment Figures, Makes Final Appeal to Consumers to Sign Up for Health Care

Expected Surge in Enrollment Continues


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California™ Executive Director Peter V. Lee announced today that enrollment in health insurance plans in California has surged passed 1.2 million and continues in the final hours before the midnight deadline.

“We are making our final push to consumers, stressing that it’s not too late to enroll,” said Lee. “Don’t be left out of this historic opportunity to get yourself and your loved ones covered. If you already have insurance, call those you know and urge them to get enrolled in these final hours.”

Consumer interest in Covered California has been strong, with 1,209,791 Californians signing up as of 2 a.m. March 31. From March 24 through 2 a.m. March 31, 155,988 individuals signed up for coverage. During the same week, 389,840 accounts were started — including 123,787 on Saturday and Sunday, as consumers hurried to meet the deadline.

“We’ve set records on accounts created five of the past six days,” Lee said. 

Through mid-March, Medi-Cal has enrolled approximately 1.5 million new members. This includes individuals who applied through the Covered California Web portal and county human services agencies, as well as approximately 650,000 former Low Income Health Program (LIHP) members transitioned to Medi-Cal by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and 134,000 individuals who applied through the state’s Express Lane program. The high demand for coverage has seen more than 1.136 million people who applied on the Covered California website be determined likely eligible for Medi-Cal coverage.

Wait times for consumers calling Covered California’s Service Center averaged 42 minutes in the past week and about 70 minutes over the weekend rush.

“I have to thank the men and women in our Service Center for the amount of calls they’ve handled not only this past week, but the entire six months of enrollment,” Lee said. “They’ve worked weekends and holidays and have been committed to helping their fellow Californians get the health care they so deserve.”

DHCS Director Toby Douglas agreed. “Since October 1 we’ve worked nonstop to accommodate the incredible demand for health care coverage, including Medi-Cal, in California,” he said. “We’re proud of what’s been accomplished, and at Medi-Cal, with year-round enrollment, we look to continue expanding health care opportunities for Californians.”

Consumers are urged to apply today to get coverage and to avoid a tax penalty by visiting www.CoveredCA.com. A number of enrollment events are continuing throughout the state today, the final day of open enrollment. A list of events is available on the Covered California website at www.CoveredCA.com/events/.

While this is the final day for enrollment in a Covered California health insurance plan, 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.

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.

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 approximately 9.4 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 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 www.dhcs.ca.gov.