December 11, 2019

Chico, Redding and Corning Residents Should Act Now To See If They Qualify For New Financial Help To Buy Health Insurance For 2020

  • With less than a week until the deadline, residents are encouraged to see if they qualify for new help to lower their premiums, some for the very first time.
  • Residents in certain areas of Chico, Redding, and Corning have the highest likelihood of getting the new financial help.
  • Those who can afford to get insurance but don’t buy it will pay a penalty when they file their 2020 taxes.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With a key deadline approaching, Covered California is urging residents in Chico, Redding and other parts of the north state to see if they qualify for new help to buy health insurance.

“California is making history this year with financial help available for the first time to eligible middle-income consumers throughout the state,” said Executive Director Peter V. Lee.  “That’s why it’s important – this year more than ever – for everyone who needs health insurance to go to and see if they qualify.”

Lee said people in every part of Chico and Redding may qualify for the new financial help, but large numbers of those individuals are estimated to live in the neighborhoods east of Highway 99 between Manzanita and East avenues in Chico, and in Redding northeast of the Interstate 5-Highway 44 interchange, extending through neighborhoods surrounding Simpson College. In Corning, consumers in neighborhoods east of the West Side Highway also may qualify for new financial assistance.

“Health care is local, and we want to remind people that Covered California is for them, in their communities, with storefronts and enrollers in their neighborhoods who can help them in person or on the phone, in many different languages – all for free,” Lee said.

The “heat map” released today for the Chico and Redding regions utilizes U.S. Census data to illustrate where the highest concentrations of middle-income consumers live who are more likely to qualify for new help based on age and income. However, residents from all parts of the community may qualify, even if their area isn’t highlighted.

Robust efforts are underway to get the word out about health insurance in the target regions, including expanding the number of Covered California storefronts in those areas and concentrating marketing efforts in specific neighborhoods. These efforts are in addition to Covered California’s comprehensive, statewide marketing campaign.

Data from the early weeks of open enrollment show that hundreds of thousands of renewing Covered California members are getting additional help in 2020 to buy health insurance, while new middle-income enrollees are qualifying for new financial help for the first time, with some getting hundreds of dollars each month to help them buy health insurance.

“If you live in Chico and Redding or other parts of the north state and you do not have health insurance, now is the time to get covered,” Lee said. “This is our opportunity to build healthier communities in Northern California and the rest of the state.

“Our research indicates that many people who are eligible for financial help either mistakenly believe they do not qualify or do not know that financial help is available,” Lee said. “We want to make sure our message reaches into neighborhoods throughout the state, especially those where we believe the highest number of people who are newly eligible for subsidies live.”

Lee also reminds consumers that California restored the individual mandate penalty that was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2014 through 2018, meaning consumers who do not get covered could face a penalty when they file their 2020 taxes in the spring of 2021.

For those facing a penalty, a family of four would pay at least $2,000, and potentially more, for not having health insurance throughout 2020.

Key Deadline Approaching

Consumers will need to sign up by Dec. 15 to have their coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2020. Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2020 (with health insurance starting in February for those who sign up after Dec. 15.

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

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