Despite a federal judge in Texas invalidating the Affordable Care Act, California health officials and local health care professionals are reminding tens of thousands of residents the recent ruling has no immediate impact on the health care program.
For most people, the deadline to enroll in or change a 2019 health insurance plan has passed. But you may still be able to enroll for 2019 two ways: with a Special Enrollment Period or through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
So what do all the changes coming from Washington mean for Californians looking for coverage through Covered California? Here’s what you need to know.
You have three months to enroll. The Covered California open enrollment starts on Oct. 15, 2018, and goes until Jan. 15, 2019. The same insurers are still participating. Covered California includes plans from 11 different insurance providers, including large companies like Kaiser Permanente and Anthem Blue Cross, as well as smaller companies. These are the same 11 insurers that participated last year, and they offer plans at four different coverage levels, bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
Premiums have gone up. Average premiums for Covered California plans have gone up 8.7 percent from last year.
Covered California said the repeal of the individual mandate penalty added on average 3.5 percent to premiums due to concerns that the removal of the penalty will lead to a less healthy and costlier consumer pool.
But advocates say consumers could avoid that rate hike by switching to a lower-cost plan in the same coverage level. You may be eligible for subsidies through Covered California.
Covered California says about 90 percent of its consumers are eligible for financial assistance to help pay for their insurance coverage.
Californians with a household income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level and who qualify for other public health coverage (like Medi-Cal) are eligible for a tax credit to help reduce the cost of their monthly premiums.
There are multiple ways to sign up. You can enroll online, download a paper application, or you can be walked through the process in person or over the phone.