Nearly 500K California Residents Enrolled in Covered Calif. Plans

As of Dec. 31, 2013, nearly 500,000 California residents had enrolled in health coverage through Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, according to data released Monday by HHS, KQED's "The California Report" reports.

Overall, California residents accounted for 22% of the total 2.2 million exchange enrollees nationwide (Aliferis, "The California Report," KQED, 1/13).

Details of Enrollment

According to the data, California experienced a surge in enrollment from late November 2013 to Dec. 28, 2013, with 389,498 individuals enrolling during that time.

According to the Contra Costa Times, the number of California residents who signed up for coverage already has surpassed Covered California officials' minimum estimate of 487,000 enrollees by March 31, when open enrollment ends.

According to the data, 85% of the 498,794 Californians who have enrolled in coverage through Covered California received a federal subsidy, compared with 79% nationally (Seipel, Contra Costa Times, 1/14).

Meanwhile, the data show that:

  • 61% of enrollees chose a silver-level plan; and
  • 23% chose a bronze-level plan ("The California Report," KQED, 1/13).

According to HHS, 53% of California residents who enrolled in health plans through Covered California were woman, while 47% were men (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/13).

The federal data also show that in California:

  • 52% of enrollees were between ages 45 and 64 ("The California Report," KQED, 1/13); and
  • 25% were between ages 18 and 34 (Contra Costa Times, 1/14).

Reaction

Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "Young people are enrolling in sufficient numbers to keep the market stable," adding, "Even if somewhat fewer young people enroll than would be ideal, premiums would only have to go up modestly to make the difference" next year ("The California Report," KQED, 1/13).

Levitt also predicted that the number of young adult enrollees will rise during the second half of open enrollment (Sisson, U-T San Diego, 1/13).

Meanwhile, Anthony Wright, executive director Health Access California, said the data show that California's exchange is "on track" ("The California Report," KQED, 1/13).

Larry Hicks, a spokesperson for the exchange, said Covered California is "pleased with the response of Californians turning to the state exchange for competitively priced health care coverage" (Contra Costa Times, 1/14).

Covered California To Release Enrollment Data

Covered California spokesperson Anne Gonzales said the exchange will release its enrollment numbers later this month.

She said Covered California's data will include "in-depth analysis and demographic breakdowns" ("The California Report," KQED, 1/13).

Clyde Dotson
There are still fewer people enrolled than the number who had their policies cancelled by Affordable Care Act. How do we fix that?

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