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Guest Editorial: Need health insurance?

Posted: January 5th, 2018 | Guest Editorial, Opinion & News | No Comments

Enroll in Covered California by Jan. 31 and save

By Covered California News

As the calendar turns to 2018, Covered California is in the homestretch of its drive to sign people up for health insurance by Jan. 31, the final day to enroll.

As an incentive, the agency, which administers the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the state, is touting lower prices and financial assistance available to most Californians who qualify.

“The time is now to ring in the New Year with a quality health plan that provides protection and peace of mind,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We have seen thousands of people signing up every day as we near this key deadline.”

The latest data shows that more than 220,000 new consumers signed up for coverage through Dec. 15, which is about 10 percent more than last year, when 199,000 consumers selected a plan during the same time period. In addition, approximately 1.2 million existing Covered California consumers have had their coverage renewed for 2018.

A recent Covered California analysis found that the net monthly premiums for enrollees who receive financial help are on average 10 percent lower than what new and renewing consumers paid last year. The lower prices are a result of more financial help being available for consumers who qualify for assistance. The Affordable Care Act is designed to protect consumers by providing more premium tax credits when premiums rise.

“With the Jan. 31 deadline approaching, we want to make sure that consumers know about the increased financial help that is available to help bring health care coverage within reach,” Lee said. “When you do the math, hundreds of thousands of Californians are the winners — getting quality coverage at lower rates than last year.”

What individuals will pay varies based on their circumstances, including whether they get subsidies to help purchase coverage, where they live and the plan options they choose, Lee said.

The analysis found that consumers who select a Silver-tier plan are on average paying $3 per month less than they were in 2017, while consumers who select a Gold-tier plan will pay on average $78 less per month.

Since 2014, more than 3 million people have purchased health insurance through Covered California, and nearly 4 million have enrolled in the state’s Medi-Cal program. Together, the gains have cut the rate of the uninsured in California from 17 percent in 2013 to a historic low of 6.8 percent as of June 2017.

Consumers interested in learning more about coverage should visit the website, where they can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the “shop and compare tool.” Consumers can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting coveredca.com/find-help and searching among 800 storefronts statewide and the more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can assist you with understanding your choices and enrolling, including assistance in other languages.

— Representatives for Covered California can be reached at CoveredCA.com or by calling 800-300-1506.

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