16K Completed Covered Calif. Applications During First Week
On Tuesday, Covered California officials announced that 16,311 households completed applications for coverage through the state health insurance exchange during its first week of open enrollment, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Cadelago, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/8).
Peter Lee -- executive director of Covered California -- said the completed applications were filed on behalf of about 28,700 individuals in the households from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5.
Lee did not specify whether applicants were eligible for Medi-Cal coverage or private insurance.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Gorman, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 10/8).
- 27,305 households partially completed applications for exchange plans; and
- 430 small businesses completed applications for exchange plans.
Website, Call Center Use
Lee also announced that as of Saturday:
- The exchange website had 987,440 unique visitors; and
- Exchange call centers had received more than 59,000 calls.
While wait times for the call centers were as long as 40 minutes during the first day of open enrollment, Lee said they were down to four minutes by Friday. The centers seek to reduce wait times to 30 seconds for less for 80% of callers, according to Lee ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 10/8).
Lee said the number of applicants is "nothing short of phenomenal" for the first week of open enrollment, adding that the results are "proof of the pent-up demand for coverage."
He added that there likely will be a "big pileup" of applicants before the Dec. 15 deadline for coverage that will begin on Jan. 1, 2014 ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 10/8).
Lee said that officials had not planned to release applicant numbers but eventually did so to "silence doubters and prevent misinformation" (Arns, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/8).
"We thought it's really important to let the media know the facts," Lee said.
Officials plan to release weekly updates on the number of consumers selecting health plans through the website and call centers (Cadelago, Sacramento Bee, 10/8).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of exchange applicant numbers are provided below.
- "Covered California: More Than 28K Already Found Eligible for Health Insurance" (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/8).
- "Week 1 for Covered California: 16,000 Applications Complete" (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 10/8).