Gov. Newsom Urges Uninsured to Get Covered Before Midnight Deadline Tomorrow as Covered California Continues Promoting Enrollment
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday urged Californians who need health insurance to enroll as Covered California continued promoting coverage statewide before the deadline to enroll on Jan. 15.
“Covered California is in the final two days of open enrollment. That means if you are without health insurance, you need to sign up by Tuesday, Jan. 15, to secure health coverage,” Newsom said.
Newsom’s statement came one week after he unveiled a new health care agenda aimed at enhancing affordability in the years ahead and building on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a pathway to universal coverage.
Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee, who was in Los Angeles Monday to promote open enrollment, said time is of the essence.
“The clock is ticking for consumers who need quality health care coverage because this year’s deadline is earlier than it has been in the past,” Lee said. “You must take action today or tomorrow to start an application for health coverage.”
Lee praised the governor’s proposals to enhance affordability by increasing subsidies in the future for middle-income Californians.
“The governor is to be applauded for his agenda to make health insurance more affordable in the years ahead,” Lee said. “The changes he seeks would make a big difference in the support provided to existing Covered California enrollees as well as a new group of individuals who would get financial help to buy health insurance for the first time.”
Gov. Newsom urged Californians to visit CoveredCA.com for more information.
“Covered California is the only place you can go to see if you qualify for financial help that can take hundreds of dollars off the price of your insurance premium,” he said. “An estimated 1.1 million Californians are eligible for quality health care coverage, either through Covered California or Medi-Cal, so do not miss this chance to get coverage that will protect you and your family,” he said.
Open enrollment is the one time of the year when consumers can sign up for coverage without needing to meet any conditions. California’s previous open-enrollment period ran through January, but a state law established that open enrollment would run from Oct. 15 through Jan. 15 each year.
Covered California made a stop in Los Angeles on Monday to promote enrollment with longtime partner Asian Americans Advancing Justice. The event culminated a bus tour that traveled more than 2,000 miles, with stops in cities across the state.
The tour will feature individuals who have been enrolled through Covered California since the exchange first opened its doors. Local dance crews will also be depicting the idea that life can change in an instant, which ties to Covered California’s award-winning advertising campaign that features ads showing individuals slipping down stairs, falling off a ladder, getting in a bicycle accident and cutting their hand in the kitchen.
“Dance transcends culture, language and age,” Lee said. “These performances from around the state will help Covered California encourage enrollment using a medium that resonates with Californians.”
There will be two performances in Los Angeles, at the headquarters of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Both dances will be performed by the world-famous GRV dance crew. The crew and the choreographers, Eileen Kim and David Lim, are all based in Los Angeles. Both Kim and Lim have spent years dancing, teaching and touring the world with their performances.
In addition to the live performances during the bus tour, the dances will be captured on video and shared through social media and on Covered California’s website.
“Californians will be able to share these dramatic performances with their family and friends,” Lee said. “We hope the videos spark conversations and get people interested in seeing how affordable it can be to get quality coverage.”
Covered California’s current enrollees pay an average of $5 per day for their health insurance, with many paying far less thanks to the financial help that is available.
“Covered California’s research shows that four out of five of the uninsured consumers we surveyed, who are eligible for financial help, either do not know or do not think they qualify,” Lee said. “You can get a quote within a minute by using our Shop and Compare Tool, so even if you have checked before, check again and do not leave money on the table.”
While each situation is different depending on a consumer’s income, one out of every three Covered California consumers could purchase a Silver plan — which provides the best overall value — for $50 or less per month. Nearly three out of five consumers could get a Silver plan for $100 or less per month.
Even consumers who currently purchase their coverage off-exchange directly from a health carrier could benefit from financial help through Covered California. Two recent analyses estimated that roughly 30 percent of consumers enrolled in off-exchange coverage are potentially eligible for financial help that would lower the cost of their net premiums.
The Remaining Uninsured
Since first opening its doors in 2014, Covered California has helped cut the state’s uninsured rate to a historic low of 6.8 percent. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows there are an estimated 2.7 million remaining uninsured consumers in California. However, an estimated 59 percent of the remaining uninsured are not eligible for coverage due to their immigration status. When you take that into account, roughly 1.1 million Californians are currently eligible for coverage in Covered California or Medi-Cal.
“Nine out of ten Covered California consumers receive financial help, which saves them an average of 80 percent off the price of their coverage,” Lee said. “The savings mean more money in your pocket and peace of mind for you and your family.”
Life Can Change in an Instant
Covered California data also shows that when life does change in an instant, it can be extremely costly. In 2017, Covered California consumers were protected from a wide variety of medical claims: More than 11,000 were diagnosed with either breast, lung or prostate cancer; 22,000 consumers fractured, dislocated or sprained their arm or shoulder; nearly 3,000 suffered a lower back injury and 1,600 were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes with complications.
“Life can change in an instant, and Covered California members were protected from medical bills that totaled in the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars,” Lee said. “No one wants to face a million-dollar medical bill alone, which is why you need health insurance, and a plan through Covered California to protect you and your family when you need it.”
Five Years Strong
As Covered California enters its sixth year as a marketplace offering affordable health insurance for Californians, long-term enrollees say the effect of the coverage has been life-changing. Those enrollees were featured at events across the state and highlighted at bus stops during the open-enrollment tour.
Among the five-year enrollees are:
- A Sacramento man who was born with a heart condition. While his pre-existing condition never caused him any issues, it prevented him from getting health insurance.
- An Oakland woman who says Covered California saved the lives of her four children, who have health conditions including asthma and autism.
- A Los Angeles-area woman who runs a thriving marshmallow-manufacturing business. She followed her dream to start the business only because she was able to buy health insurance on the individual market. Before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, she was not eligible due to a pre-existing condition.
- A business owner who operates a collision-repair shop in Pleasanton. He decided to get health insurance for his employees through Covered California for Small Business. He said this employee coverage helps him attract and retain the best workers.
Getting Help Enrolling
Those interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to www.CoveredCA.com, where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool. They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 700 storefronts statewide or 16,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling (800) 300-1506.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality insurance from top insurance companies. Covered California is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial assistance on a sliding scale to reduce premium costs. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal program.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the health insurance marketplace 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.