Covered California Urges Inland Empire Residents to Enroll by May 31 to Save Money With Lower Health Insurance Premiums Now Available Through the American Rescue Plan
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California announced that hundreds of thousands of people, including an estimated 140,000 people throughout Riverside County alone, can benefit from lower health insurance premiums provided by the American Rescue Plan. The landmark law provides new and expanded financial help that is making health care coverage more affordable than ever before. However, people in the Inland Empire need to act now in order to realize those savings. Those who sign up by May 31 will have coverage starting June 1.
“The new and expanded financial help provided by the American Rescue Plan can help people throughout the Inland Empire get covered and stay covered by lowering their premiums and putting money back into their pockets,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California.
“The American Rescue Plan provides the most significant savings for consumers since the Affordable Care Act began, but in order for many people to make the most of those savings, they need to act before the month ends.”
Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz (36th Congressional District) joined Covered California to encourage people throughout the county to take a moment to check out their options and find out how affordable quality health care coverage can be. Rep. Ruiz, who serves as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and who has championed the American Rescue Plan, is an emergency room doctor who provided care Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, and helped open a free clinic for underserved communities in the region to ensure that they get the health care they need.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how crucial it is for Californians to have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Dr. Ruiz. “I am thrilled to have partnered with Covered California today to help all Californians access the care they need at a time when they need it most. Now is the time to get covered and access affordable, quality health care thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s reduced premiums through expanded subsidies. I encourage Californian families to enroll for health care coverage through Covered California before the May 31st deadline so that they can get the care they need starting on June 1st.”
Which Californians benefit from the American Rescue Plan?
Covered California estimates the new financial assistance can directly help 2.5 million Californians — including more than 140,000 people in Riverside County alone1 — by lowering their monthly health insurance premiums. The new law stands to benefit the following groups of people:
Uninsured Inland Empire residents: Under the American Rescue Plan, many uninsured consumers would be able to get a high-quality health plan from one of 11 trusted name-brand companies for as little as $1 per month, or a plan that offers richer benefits for less than $100 per month (see Figure 1: Premiums Are Lower Than Ever for the Uninsured). An estimated 62,000 people in Riverside County are uninsured and eligible for health insurance coverage through Covered California.
Figure 1: Premiums Are Lower Than Ever for the Uninsured
- Inland Empire residents insured “off-exchange”: Thousands of people in the Inland Empire – including 10,000 in Riverside County - are insured “off-exchange,” or directly through a health insurance carrier, and do not receive any financial help. The American Rescue Plan ensures that everyone eligible will pay no more than 8.5 percent of their household income on their health care premiums if they are enrolled in an Affordable Care Act marketplace like Covered California. The new and expanded subsidies mean that many consumers will be able to save hundreds of dollars per month if they switch and get their insurance through Covered California (see Figure 2: Off-Exchange Consumers Save by Switching to Covered California).
Figure 2: Off-Exchange Consumers Save by Switching to Covered California
Finally, existing Covered California have already begun benefiting from the new law, when their monthly premiums were automatically reduced in May.
Covered California’s special-enrollment period will run through the end of the year, but Lee encouraged consumers to act now in order to start saving.
“Do not miss out: the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can start saving and be covered,” Lee said. “We don’t want anyone in the Inland Empire, or across the state, to be uninsured or leave money on the table.”
Lee also noted that even if people are not eligible for the new financial help through Covered California, they may still be eligible for no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.
Quality Coverage for $1 a Month
Covered California announced last week that roughly 680,000 of its 1.55 million enrollees, or 44 percent, are signed up in quality coverage plans that cost $1 per month.
Of those, nearly 400,000 people are in Enhanced Silver plans that include cost-sharing benefits in the form of lower copays, lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket expenses that make it easier for them to access the health care they need.
“You owe it to yourself to check it out and see what this new financial help can mean for you and your family,” Lee said. “For less than the price of a bus ride or a soda, many Californians are getting the protection and peace of mind that comes with being covered for just $1 a month.”
In addition, the American Rescue Plan provides generous help to those who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2021. Under the new law, Californians who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2021 — regardless of their actual income in 2021 — will be eligible for quality coverage that will cost only $1 per month.
Covered California is currently working to implement this benefit into its enrollment and consumer cost-comparison systems. While those changes are expected to be implemented next month, consumers who are enrolled or who sign up before that time will receive the lower premium retroactive to when their coverage commenced. An estimated 10 percent of current Covered California enrollees would be eligible for this added benefit, further reducing their costs and putting even more money back into their pockets.
Consumers Can Find Out in Minutes How Much They Can Save
Covered California is encouraging people to check if they are eligible for lower premiums due to the American Rescue Plan. Consumers can easily see exactly how they can benefit from the new law on CoveredCA.com by entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of the people in the household to see how low their premiums can be and the health insurance options in their area.
Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can also:
- Visit www.CoveredCA.com.
- Use the website to find local insurance agents or certified enrollers in community organizations who provide free and confidential assistance over the phone or in person, in a variety of languages.
- Have a certified enroller call them for free help.
- Call Covered California at (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.
1 Specific estimates for San Bernardino County are not available.