About 159,000 Residents Have Signed Up for Covered Calif. Plans
About 159,000 people have signed up for health coverage through Covered California, but just 5% of those enrolled through the end of November primarily speak Spanish, according to data released by the exchange on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 12/12).
Editor's note: For more information on the latest Covered California enrollment data, check out today's "Capitol Desk."
Officials said that about 109,000 individuals enrolled in coverage through the exchange from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.
From Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, nearly 50,000 additional people signed up for coverage at a rate of 7,100 per day, according to officials. The daily rate is 15 times higher than the first week the exchange was launched (Cadelago, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/12).
As of Dec. 7, more than 90% of total enrollees qualified for federal subsidies.
So far, nearly 24,000 enrollees are ages 18 to 34, accounting for about 22% of total enrollment. Individuals ages 45 to 64 account for 58% of total enrollment.
According to the data:
- 53,000 white individuals signed up for coverage;
- 18,000 Asians signed up;
- 14,000 Latinos signed up; and
- 3,000 blacks signed up (Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 12/12).
Only 5% of those enrolled primarily speak Spanish, even though that group represents 29% of the state's total population (Los Angeles Times, 12/12).
Meanwhile, more than 88% of those enrolled are English speakers, even though such individuals account for only 56% of the state population ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/12).
However, officials noted that 12,000 enrollees did not indicate their primary language (Los Angeles Times, 12/12).
Of those who enrolled in health coverage through Covered California:
- More than 32,000 chose an Anthem Blue Cross plan;
- Nearly 30,000 chose a Blue Shield of California plan;
- Nearly 26,000 chose a Kaiser Permanente plan; and
- About 17,000 selected a Health Net plan (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 12/12).
According to officials, most individuals who were eligible for federal subsidies selected middle-tier plans through the exchange.
About 179,000 others qualified for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Weintraub, HealthyCal, 12/12).
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said exchange officials "expect a surge" in enrollment leading up to the Dec. 23 deadline to purchase coverage that is effective on Jan. 1, 2014 (Perkes, Orange County Register, 12/12).
Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, said, "I think these numbers clearly show positive momentum," adding that the data should give "a lot of comfort" to exchange officials.
However, Glenn Melnick -- a professor of health care economics at the University of Southern California -- said that "the numbers on the exchange should be much bigger" by now (San Jose Mercury News, 12/12).
State-Run Exchanges Launch Celebrity Campaign
In related news, Covered California on Thursday launched a campaign in partnership with other state-run exchanges and national groups that uses celebrities to encourage young, healthy individuals to sign up for health coverage, CNN reports.
So far, the "Tell A Friend -- Get Covered" campaign has included messages from:
- Actors Wilmer Valderrama, Tatyana Ali and Fran Drescher;
- Comedians Alphacat, George Lopez and Marlon Wayans;
- Former Olympic athlete and professional basketball player Lisa Leslie;
- Rappers Pitbull and T.I.; and
- Singer Adam Levine.
Fourteen state-based health insurance exchanges throughout the U.S. have partnered on the campaign (Aigner-Treworgy, CNN, 12/12).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of the enrollment data are provided below.
- "State's Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Leads Nation, but Few Latinos Sign up" (Dembosky, "State of Health," KQED, 12/13).
- "Some new Covered California Enrollment Data Raise Questions" (Glickman/Florido, "KPCC News," KPCC, 12/12).