- Seventy-two percent of California’s previously uninsured gained coverage since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.
- The majority of the recently insured say their experience with their current Covered California plan has been positive.
- Nearly half of the remaining uninsured are unaware of the financial help available only through Covered California.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said a survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation titled “A Final Look: California’s Previously Uninsured After the ACA’s Third Open Enrollment Period” provides a compelling picture of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is changing the lives of millions of Californians.
The survey found that 72 percent of California’s previously uninsured population has gained health coverage since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. That share is up from 58 percent of Californians who became insured after the launch of Covered California and the Medi-Cal expansion in 2014.
“California has made great strides over the past three years, with consumers getting coverage under the Affordable Care Act, getting better employer-based coverage and benefiting from a competitive market that has cut California’s uninsured rate to 8.1 percent,” Lee said. “We know we have more to do to assure that all eligible Californians are able to get the affordable, quality care they deserve, but we should pause to appreciate the progress made in three short years."
The survey found that recently insured consumers are getting access to quality care:
Seventy-seven percent say their health needs are being met, which is up from 49 percent in the first survey conducted before the launch of the Affordable Care Act and Covered California’s first open-enrollment period.
Seventy-six percent are satisfied with their choice of primary care doctors.
Seventy percent say their experience with their current Covered California health care plan has been positive.
Additionally, recently insured consumers say that their new health care coverage is a good value and that the coverage makes them feel more financially secure.
Sixty-five percent say health insurance is worth the cost, which is up from 58 percent in the first survey conducted before Covered California’s first open-enrollment period.
Forty-two percent report feeling more financially secure with health insurance provided by Covered California, which is higher than those who have employer-sponsored insurance.
The survey also showed the importance of continuing to spread the word about the financial help available only to Covered California consumers, as 76 percent of the remaining uninsured said they would be likely to get insurance in the future, if they could buy it for less than they thought. However, only 49 percent of the remaining uninsured said they were aware of the available financial assistance.
“This financial help is allowing nearly 200,000 Covered California consumers to pay less than $25 per month for their coverage, and 759,000 consumers to pay less than $100 per month,” Lee said. “Consumers need to know there is money on the table to help them protect themselves and their family.”
Lee noted that some elements of the survey underscored that further work is needed to ensure affordability of Covered California plans – 47 percent of respondents said they lack insurance because it is too expensive. The report also underscored the need to continue to reach out to underserved communities who remain uninsured, especially the Latino community. Of critical importance is allaying the Latino community’s fears that purchasing insurance through Covered California or accessing Medi-Cal will not affect their or their family’s immigration status.
“We want everyone to know that when you apply for health insurance through a health insurance marketplace like Covered California, all of your information is kept private and secure,” Lee said. “It will not be shared with or used by any immigration agency to enforce immigration laws. All information you submit is used strictly to determine your eligibility for health insurance programs available under the Affordable Care Act.”
The new Kaiser Family Foundation study reinforces Covered California’s own data that suggests consumers move through different coverage options, such as employer-based coverage, Medi-Cal and Covered California. This is the new reality of creating the fabric of coverage in California and nationwide.
Covered California’s next open-enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2017. In the meantime, special enrollment for those who experience a change in life circumstances, such as moving, getting married or having a baby, continues year-round.
For more information on Covered California’s special-enrollment period, and to find out who is eligible, visit www.CoveredCA.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/special-enrollment. Medi-Cal enrollment and Covered California for Small Business enrollment also continue year-round.
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, 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 www.CoveredCA.com.