Covered California Surpasses Target for Open Enrollment
On Wednesday, state health officials announced that as of Saturday about 829,000 California residents had enrolled in health coverage through Covered California -- exceeding the state's goal for the first six months of open enrollment, KQED's "State of Health" reports.
The state had projected signing up about 500,000 to 700,000 individuals in private coverage by March 31 (Dembosky, "State of Health," KQED, 2/19).
Details of Enrollment
California enrollees account for about 20% of all consumers nationwide who have selected a health plan through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 2/19).
About 26% of all California enrollees were individuals between ages 18 and 34 ("State of Health," KQED, 2/19).
Of the nearly 829,000 enrollees in the state, about 92% signed up for a health plan offered by one of the "big four" insurers. Specifically:
- 30.7% selected an Anthem Blue Cross plan;
- 29.3% selected a Blue Shield of California plan;
- 18% selected a Kaiser Permanente plan; and
- 17.3% selected a Health Net plan.
As of January, about 80% of new enrollees had paid their first month's premiums, according to the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk."
Uptick in Latino Enrollment
Meanwhile, enrollment among Latino residents increased from 5% of total state enrollees during the first three months of open enrollment to about 11.5% in January. About 45,745 Latinos in California enrolled in health plans through the exchange last month ("Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 2/19).
In total, 21% of California residents who signed up for health coverage as of the end of January identified as Latino, according to the New York Times.
To increase outreach to Latinos, the exchange plans to employ about 4,000 certified Spanish-speaking enrollment counselors and insurance agents and promote in-person enrollment efforts (Lovett, New York Times, 2/19). In addition, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the exchange plans to expand its Latino outreach in the coming months by spending about $8.2 million on Spanish-language media advertisements (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 2/19).
In a release, the California Association of Health Plans said the large number of enrollees "demonstrates continued momentum" in the Covered California exchange (CAHP release, 2/19).
Meanwhile, Lee called the increasing number of Latino enrollees a "marked improvement" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 2/19).
Lee added, "From absolutely Day 1, Latino enrollment has been probably the No. 1 priority of Covered California. Have we executed perfectly? No. We're getting better as we go, and we're seeing results right now" (New York Times, 2/19).
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) said she "couldn't be happier ... that Latino and Spanish-speaking enrollment has increased" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 2/19).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.