Deadline for Covered California enrollment approaching

Consumers who want their coverage to start on Jan. 1 must sign up by Dec. 15.

A life-altering letter in the mail from Covered California has changed John and Shannon’s outlook for 2020.

The retirees are about “95 percent” done with building their dream home in Red Bluff, but monthly health care insurance bills were stalling their project and making Shannon considering going back to work full-time.

That harsh reality was put aside when the couple received a letter from Covered California this fall informing them that they were eligible for the new state subsidy program for middle-income Californians and that their bills would coming down to $287 a month in 2020 – after they will spend over $18,000 on monthly premiums this year.

“It’s been a blessing, it’s been a godsend really,” Shannon said. “We still get the exact same coverage that we had before. We can stay retired and enjoy our lives because we worked hard, raised our kids and now it’s our time. We want to travel and enjoy our grandkids and build our dream house.”

Open enrollment is underway for consumers to sign up for health insurance through Covered California. A key deadline is Dec. 15 for consumers who want their coverage to begin on Jan. 1.

This year’s open enrollment period features some of the biggest changes since Covered California first began offering coverage in 2014. First, two new state initiatives – the state subsidy program and the restoration of the individual mandate – were key elements in Covered California’s record-low 0.8 percent rate increase for the upcoming year.

“We have heard from people across the state who will be saving hundreds of dollars a month because California is putting its people first,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Whether you never thought you could get financial help, or if you have checked before, you need to check again because there is new money available that may dramatically reduce the cost of your coverage.”

The new state subsidies are already helping consumers who have selected a plan for 2020. New data shows that 500,000 people have already signed up to benefit from the program. Eligible low-income consumers who qualify for a subsidy are receiving an average of $21 per month per household, while eligible middle-income Californians who receive a subsidy are getting an average of $460 per month per household.

While Covered California’s open enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, 2020, consumers must sign up before the end of Sunday, Dec. 15 to have their coverage begin on Jan. 1.

Enrolling for coverage now is critical because California restored the penalty that was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2014 through 2018, meaning consumers who do not get covered could face a fine when they file their 2020 taxes in the spring of 2021.

For those facing a penalty, a family of four would pay at least $2,000, and potentially more, for not having health insurance throughout 2020.

Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can:

• Visit

• Get free and confidential in-person assistance, in a variety of languages, from a certified enroller.

• Have a certified enroller call them and help them for free.

• Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.

Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2020.  

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