SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee hailed the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey that found that for the first time, the national uninsured rate fell to 9 percent, with California’s rate being even lower — 8.6 percent. Previous CDC surveys showed California’s uninsured rate at 12 percent in 2014 and 17 percent in 2013.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have reached another milestone. For the first time ever, the national rate of the uninsured has dropped below 10 percent,” said Lee. “California’s uninsured rate is even lower because California has used all the tools of the Affordable Care Act — expanding Medi-Cal and launching an exchange that is bringing real value to our residents. We are proud to be by far the largest contributor to this historic improvement in the nation’s health.”
The survey comes on the heels of a U.S. Census report in September that showed that California had reduced the number of uninsured by more than 1.7 million people through 2014. The reduction was more than 1 million more than the next-closest state, Texas.
Covered California estimates that the number of uninsured people in the state has now dropped by approximately 3 million when the gains made during the first six months of 2015 are calculated.
“We are building a culture of coverage in California and helping people get the health care coverage and protection they deserve,” said Lee. “But we are far from done, with more than 2 million Californians still uninsured and eligible for financial help through Covered California or to enroll in Medi-Cal.”
Lee made his comments from San Francisco during Covered California’s “Spotlight on Coverage” tour. The bus tour with dozens of stops is covering more than 2,000 miles of the state to promote Covered California’s open-enrollment period, which started Nov. 1.
“If you or someone you know doesn’t have health care coverage right now, this is the opportunity,” Lee said. “Make sure you know about the financial help that is available, that is helping 350,000 consumers pay $50 or less per month for their coverage. Make sure you know about the new plans and expanded coverage that will give you access to more doctors and more facilities than ever before.”
Those who need insurance can go to CoveredCA.com to learn about their options and to find locations in their community where they can get free, confidential help to enroll, or they can get help enrolling over the phone. Open enrollment continues through Jan. 31, and Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round, but to have coverage take effect on Jan. 1, consumers must enroll by Dec. 15.
The full CDC survey can be viewed here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/insur201511.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. 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.