Guest Editorial: New parents and children can still qualify for health insurance

Posted: May 12th, 2017 | Guest Editorial, Opinion & News | No Comments

By Covered California Staff

New parents have a lot to be joyful about, but the worries can add up as well.

One concern parents can still take care of is having health insurance for their child and themselves through Covered California. Though Covered California’s annual open-enrollment period has ended, having a newborn or adopting a child are among the circumstances that can make one eligible for special enrollment. And consumers can rest assured that all Covered California health plans, financial assistance and rates are locked in for 2017.

New parents, make sure your first Mother’s Day (May 14) or Father’s Day (June 18) with your child is as joyous and worry-free as it can be by enrolling for health insurance through Covered California and taking advantage of the financial assistance available to you and your family to pay for it.

An analysis by Covered California shows that its households received an average of $5,300 per year in tax credits to help pay for the cost of their coverage in 2016. Additionally, 12 percent of Covered California households receive more than $10,000 per year and 16 percent of individuals receive more than $6,000 per year to help bring health coverage within reach.

Through Oct. 31, eligible consumers can sign up for coverage outside of open enrollment as long as they do so within 60 days of a qualifying life event occurring. The following are among the more common reasons that make people eligible for special enrollment:

  • Have a baby, adopt a child or place a child for adoption or in foster care.
  • Lose their health care coverage because they have lost or changed jobs.
  • Get married or enter into a domestic partnership.
  • Move and gain access to new Covered California health insurance plans that were not available where they previously lived.
  • Become a citizen, national or lawfully present individual.

If you qualify for special enrollment, you can get yourself covered with a plan that best fits your needs and budget. Nearly half of all Covered California consumers, 49 percent, can get a Silver plan costing less than $100 per month. More than half of all Covered California consumers receiving a tax credit, 59 percent, can get a Bronze plan for less than $10 per month. Bronze plans offer three visits to a primary care physician or specialist that are not subject to a deductible.

Californians have taken advantage of those savings. A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that California’s uninsured rate has fallen to a new record low of 7.1 percent, which is significantly lower than the 17 percent the CDC found in 2013.

“We have made great progress in reducing California’s uninsured rate to a historic low,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “The main reasons for that are that the financial assistance currently available helps many afford coverage, and for those not receiving subsidies we have kept premium increases to historically low levels.”

Lee said the exchange, which now has nearly 1.5 million enrollees, is proud to be part of the effort that is helping millions of people get the coverage and care they need. Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, California’s uninsured rate for all ages was higher than the national average: 17 percent compared to 14.4 percent. Since that time, California has fallen below the national average (8.8 percent) and is dropping at a significantly faster pace.

If you are about to make an addition to your family or have done so recently, the time is now to protect their future with affordable, quality health insurance through Covered California.

For more information on special-enrollment rules, visit: Those who qualify for Medi-Cal may enroll through Covered California year round.

—For more information, visit, where you can enroll online or get information about obtaining free, confidential in-person assistance in a variety of languages. You can find a certified enroller at a storefront in your area or gain access to a certified enroller contact you through the “Help on Demand” feature. You can also enroll over the phone by calling Covered California at 800-300-1506.

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