SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Open enrollment for affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act officially begins Saturday, Nov. 15, Covered California announced. Consumers need to enroll by Dec. 15 in order to have health insurance coverage starting on Jan. 1.
“We made history, enrolling an estimated 3.4 million previously uninsured Californians and cutting the state’s uninsured rate from 22 percent to 11 percent during last open enrollment,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “But there still is a lot of work to do, because an estimated 3.2 million people still are uninsured in California.”
Open enrollment is only three months long this year, half of what it was last time around. That is why Lee, other leaders of Covered California, community partners and elected officials embarked on a nine-day, 30-stop bus tour, spreading the word about open enrollment in every corner of the state. They’re making appearances at enrollment events in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, Salinas, Yuba City, Chico and Redding in the next four days.
“As we meet consumers across the state, we explain how to enroll in coverage and share the tangible ways having health insurance is improving the lives of real people in California,” Lee said. “We’re also encouraging everyone in California who has health insurance to join the ‘I’m In’ social media campaign, to spread the word to their friends and neighbors about the importance of getting health coverage. On the Covered California website, the ‘Tell a Friend’ button takes users to social media resources to get the word out about open enrollment.”
Consumers can enroll at hundreds of events and storefronts across the state starting tomorrow. Visit www.CoveredCA.com and click on “Find Local Help” to find resources and events by region.
During the three-month open enrollment, from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15, Californians who need insurance cannot be legally turned away by health insurance companies. Plans from up to 10 health insurance companies are available through Covered California. Many consumers can get federal subsidies to dramatically lower their cost of coverage, depending on their household income. There are no annual limits on how much a plan will cover, and each plan has standardized benefits and free preventive care.
Outreach includes the “I’m In” and “Tengo un Plan de Salud” statewide TV, radio and print advertising marketing campaign, with multilingual television ads running in every major market. The ads feature the stories of real people — in their own words — who have received important medical care as a result of getting insured through Covered California.
In addition, this year Covered California is urging everyone in the state — including doctors, hospitals, consumer advocates, unions, insurance agents and health insurance companies — to urge the uninsured to sign up for coverage through Covered California.
Covered California has improved many of its processes in time for the upcoming open enrollment, ensuring a higher level of education and outreach to all populations of the state. Among the improvements:
- An emphasis on, and broadening of outreach to, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans through targeted advertising in ethnic media.
- New grants supporting outreach and enrollment activities in groups anchored in African-American, Latino and Asian-American communities and new community-anchored activities throughout the state.
- Expanded Service Center hours. It is now open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. In addition, the Service Center will be open every Sunday from Nov. 16 through Dec. 15.
- The addition of more than 200 storefronts across the state, operated by community groups partnering with Covered California. These storefronts are located in easy-to-find locations such as shopping malls and are primed to help educate, enroll and renew consumers in convenient locations. This is in addition to the thousands of offices of insurance agents and partner enrollment organizations.
“Today we have more than 12,000 Certified Insurance Agents, 10,000 county eligibility workers and 6,490 Certified Enrollment Counselors ready to help educate and enroll consumers,” Lee said.
“In-person assistance is a really big deal for consumers, and we want to support them through retail enrollment storefronts and up to 1,000 enrollment events scheduled across the state,” Lee said. “We’re ready to help.”
Covered California anticipates a total enrollment of 1.7 million Californians — excluding Medi-Cal enrollees — by the end of the second open-enrollment period: 1.5 million in subsidized coverage and 230,000 in unsubsidized coverage. This forecast represents an increase of about 500,000 in total enrollment.
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. 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 about Covered California, please visit .