Covered Calif. Nears Enrollment Goals, Warns About Penalties
With a month left in Covered California's second open enrollment period, the state health insurance exchange is nearing its enrollment goals, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Meanwhile, the exchange is emphasizing rising financial penalties for skipping coverage as a way to boost enrollment ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.
Details of Enrollment
On Tuesday, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the exchange is on track to meet its goal of signing up at least 500,000 new consumers by Feb. 15.
As of Jan. 11, 217,146 California residents had signed up for private coverage since the exchange's second open enrollment period began on Nov. 15 (Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 1/13). An additional 304,394 consumers have been determined to be eligible for coverage (Robertson , Sacramento Business Journal, 1/13).
However, new enrollment slowed between Dec. 16, 2014, and Jan. 11 to 72,968 enrollees, down from 144,178 consumers who signed up between Nov. 15, 2014, and Dec. 15, 2014 (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 1/13).
Lee said, "We've seen strong interest and continued momentum in Covered California, but hundreds of thousands of Californians appear to be waiting" (Robertson , Sacramento Business Journal, 1/13).
Lee said it was unclear how many residents from last year have renewed coverage. However, he said, "Things look very strong on renewals."
Meanwhile, officials said that 466,778 Californians have signed up for Medi-Cal during this open enrollment period. Medi-Cal is the state's Medicaid program (Los Angeles Times, 1/13).
To help boost enrollment as the deadline approaches, Covered California officials have been reminding consumers that they will face higher financial penalties under the Affordable Care Act if they do not buy coverage this year, The Hill reports (Viebeck, The Hill, 1/13).
Penalties are increasing to:
- $325 per adult, up from $95;
- $162.50 per child, up from $47.50; and
- Up to $975 per family or 2% of household income, up from $285 per family or 1% of household income.
Lee said, "It's important that consumers understand now that the cost of remaining uninsured is rising." He added, "As the penalty increases, it makes more and more sense for those who have been waiting on the sidelines to get in and get coverage" (Robertson , Sacramento Business Journal, 1/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.