Covered California health plans: The best deal in health care

The base fare for a bus ride on Los Angeles Metro is $1.75. A ride from Oakland to San Francisco on BART, the San Francisco-Bay Area rapid transit system can cost upwards of $3.70 one way.

The base fare for a bus ride on Los Angeles Metro is $1.75. A ride from Oakland to San Francisco on BART, the San Francisco-Bay Area rapid transit system can cost upwards of $3.70 one way.

Not bad, right? But the best bang for your buck out there may be the deal that hundreds of thousands of Californians are getting for comprehensive health insurance coverage through Covered California.

Hannah Zhou of Temple City is one of those who found the right deal and right coverage for her. Zhou, who immigrated to the United States in 2019 and is currently applying for citizenship, is a 21-year-old working student, so health care costs are a big slice of her budget. Prior to the American Rescue Plan, she was paying $164 a month, but is now paying just $42 a month.

“I don’t have a car and use public transportation to get to work and school, so the new subsidy reduces my financial burden,” Zhou said. “I now have the opportunity to go out more each month.”

Thanks to new and expanded financial help from the American Rescue Plan, there are hundreds of thousands of consumers now paying just $1 per month for quality coverage.

“For less than the price of a bus ride, a cup of coffee, or a soda, many Californians are able to get high-quality coverage from some of the best doctors and hospitals in the country,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “Do not miss out on this historic opportunity, you owe it to yourself to check it out and see what this new financial help can mean for you and your family.”

The landmark American Rescue Plan not only increased the amount of financial help that is now available for Californians, it also increased the number of Californians who are eligible for the lower monthly premiums, but consumers can only get this deal on health plans purchased through Covered California.

In order to help more people get covered and stay covered, Covered California recently launched a special enrollment period that runs through the end of 2021, so people can benefit from premiums that are more affordable than ever before. Right now, 680,000 Covered California enrollees are paying monthly health insurance premiums of just $1.

One of those consumers is Calvin Shih of Los Angeles. The 28-year-old owns his own marketing consulting firm and as a self-employed contractor, his income fluctuates from month to month. So, having subsidies to help with his monthly premium is extremely important. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, Shih’s monthly premium will be reduced from $69 to $1.

“I will be putting this money towards my savings,” said Shih. “It’s a huge relief knowing that I can set aside money for unexpected costs or emergencies.”

Lee said the savings and the peace of mind of knowing you and your family are covered are a priceless combination.

“Quality health care coverage through Covered California is more affordable than ever, and the sooner people sign up, the sooner they can start saving and be covered,” Lee said.

Hang Thuy Le of Tracy and her husband have already reaped the benefits of the American Rescue Plan, upgrading to a Silver Kaiser Permanente plan, while paying just $2 a month. After previously being covered through job-based insurance, Le was laid off because of COVID-19 in March of 2020 and enrolled in Covered California.

“My husband is healthy, but I have an underlying heart condition and had to have surgery,” Le said. “There was a (six-figure) bill that I only had to pay small portion of, so I’m happy to be protected by health insurance, and it’s important that everyone is.”

New enrollees can use services offered by your health insurance plan on the first of the month after you sign up through Covered California, even before your membership ID card has arrived, as long as you make your first payment.

Those interested in learning more about their health coverage options for Covered California and Medi-Cal plans can also:

  • Visit
  • Find local help with certified enrollers who provide free and confidential assistance over the phone, virtually or in person, in a variety of languages.
  • Have a certified enroller call them for free help with our “help on demand”  feature.
  • Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.

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