Many Covered Calif. Enrollees Likely To Leave Exchange

Many residents who enrolled in health plans through California's health insurance exchange likely will later drop that coverage because they have found insurance elsewhere, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by the UC-Berkeley Labor Center, KQED's "State of Health" reports (Aliferis, "State of Health, " KQED, 4/2).

"Churning" refers to the process of individuals losing and regaining coverage in a short period of time as their eligibility changes (Wayt, California Healthline, 7/31/13).

Covered California Estimates

The analysis estimates that:

  • 20% of Covered California enrollees will leave the exchange because they will become employed at an organization that offers health coverage;
  • 20% will leave the exchange because their incomes will drop and they will become eligible for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program; and
  • 2% to 8% will become uninsured.

According to the analysis, 53% to 58% of Covered California enrollees will keep their selected plan for one year.

In any given 3-month period, 10% of enrollees can be expected to drop their Covered California health plans, according to Ken Jacobs, chair of the UC-Berkeley Labor Center and author of the report.

Medi-Cal Estimates

Meanwhile, the analysis predicted that of the individuals who qualified for Medi-Cal this year:

  • 75% will remain in the program for a one-year period;
  • 16% will become eligible for Covered California because their incomes will increase; and
  • 10% will become employed at a job that offers health insurance.

Prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, just 55% of Medi-Cal beneficiaries remained in the program for a full year, according to the analysis. The authors said that because of the ACA's more automated annual enrollment process, the Medi-Cal population is expected to remain more stable ("State of Health," KQED, 4/2).


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