Covered California, California’s marketplace for health care coverage, opened for business today, providing Californians and small businesses access to health care coverage from major health insurance carriers.
“As of Oct. 1, Covered California is officially open for business — our phone lines are humming, our website is live, and we stand with thousands of Californians across the state as we kick off our effort to help educate and enroll millions of currently uninsured Californians,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.
According to a news release from Covered California, today’s announcement kicks off a six-month open-enrollment period and includes:
- The formal launch of the new features of CoveredCA.com that enables consumers to determine their eligibility for premium assistance and no-cost or low-cost Medi-Cal and to shop for, compare and enroll in coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.
- The statewide rollout of outreach efforts and marketing that will educate consumers about their options and how to enroll.
- Forecasts and background of who Covered California is seeking to enroll. It is estimated that during this initial six-month open-enrollment period (ending March 31, 2014), Covered California will enroll 500,000 to 700,000 Californians who are eligible for premium assistance to make their care more affordable.
- The opening of Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) that will allow employers to start shopping for small-group coverage that can start in January. This SHOP is not subject to the six-month open-enrollment period.
Diana S. Dooley, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency and chair of the Covered California Board, applauded the launch of Covered California and said, “From Eureka to San Diego, from the Central Valley to the Central Coast, we want Californians to know we are open for business. Californians can now get quality, affordable health care by enrolling in one of the many plans offered under Covered California.” She added, “The Brown administration is proud to be a part of this historic change to make coverage affordable for all Californians.”
By the end of 2014, Covered California aims to have insured approximately 1,050,000 Californians newly enrolled in Medi-Cal and between 840,000 and 1.2 million who qualify for premium assistance to help them pay for a health insurance plan, according to today's news release.
Want to find out what your health care insurance rates are using Covered California? Click here for a calculator.
About Covered California (from the agency):
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that will be available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.