February 20, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy Health Care Reform
More Californians than initially expected have purchased health care during Covered California’s first six months of open enrollment, according to statistics released by the exchange late last week.
According the latest figures, roughly 829,000 Californians have purchased health care coverage through the exchange. This surpasses the initial projections of anywhere between 500,000 and 700,000 enrollees by the end of March.
“These enrollment numbers mean that with six weeks to go, California has already exceeded its projected base enrollment for the 2014 open-enrollment period. While this is a strong showing, our goal is not pinned to meeting projections, but to making sure every Californian gets covered,” Peter V. Lee, Covered California’s executive director stated in the announcement, adding that roughly 80 percent of those enrollees had paid their first month’s premiums.
These figures also mean that California accounts for roughly 1 in 5 of the 3.3 million Americans who have purchased health insurance via the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Additionally, 877,000 applicants were determined to be likely eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. California’s Department of Health Care Services also transitioned 652,000 individuals into the Medi-Cal program from the state’s Low Income Health Program, bringing the total number of Californians newly enrolled in Medi-Cal to more than 1.5 million.
Covered California also saw a significant increase in the number of Latinos enrolled during the month of January. In that month, Latino enrollment in Covered California reached 28 percent, compared with a cumulative rate of about 18 percent for October through December. The enrollment rate of Spanish-speaking Californians increased, representing about 11.5 percent in January, compared with 5 percent during the first three months of open enrollment.
Of those Californians enrolling in coverage through the exchange, most – 62 percent – were opting for the silver level of coverage, while the so-called “big four” plans – Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Health Net – accounted for 92 percent of all enrollment.
Covered California’s open-enrollment period will continue until March 31.