Covered California Enrolls 11K in First Days of Open Enrollment
On Thursday, Covered California officials announced that more than 11,000 California residents signed up for private health plans through the state exchange during the first four days of the its second open enrollment period, the Orange County Register reports.
The enrollment period started Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, 2015 (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 11/20).
Details of Signups
Nearly 70,000 Californians submitted coverage applications to the exchange during the first four days of open enrollment this year, including:
- 35,877 individuals who were determined to be eligible for private coverage; and
- 33,368 individuals who were determined to be eligible for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
As of Tuesday, 11,357 individuals who applied for private coverage had selected a plan (Covered California release, 11/20).
According to the Register, the signups so far this year are almost four times higher than the first few days of last year's open enrollment period (Orange County Register, 11/20). During the first open enrollment period, it took 15 days for the state exchange to reach 10,972 enrollees, according to the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 11/20).
Experts say the higher number of signups can be attributed in part to greater awareness of the health insurance exchange (Orange County Register, 11/20).
Covered California has not yet released figures on how many residents have renewed private coverage (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 11/20).
Meanwhile, the exchange website had about 314,100 unique visitors during the first four days of open enrollment.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said, "We are continuing to see tremendous interest," adding, "There still is a lot of work to do, though" (Covered California release, 11/20).
Specifically, exchange officials said they hope to enroll 500,000 additional residents by Feb. 15, 2015, while maintaining coverage for the 1.2 million residents who enrolled during the first open enrollment period ("Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 11/20).
Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "It's certainly good news that the pace of sign-ups seems faster than last year, at least at this point," adding, "But it's way too early to declare success."
Meanwhile, Dylan Roby, a professor at UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research, said that low premium increases and the risk of penalties for not enrolling in coverage likely will encourage more people to continue selecting health plans through the exchange. Roby added, "[T]he fact that online enrollment works better than last year should make sure that quite a few people will be able to shop for and purchase coverage" (Orange County Register, 11/20).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.