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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

SACRAMENTO—Covered California launched its statewide marketing and outreach campaign on Monday, to educate consumers about the current open enrollment period and the new state subsidies that are available for the first time.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows about the new state subsidies that are already helping people across the state save money on their monthly health insurance premiums,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “California is making coverage more affordable for low-income families, and we are making history by becoming the first state in the nation to provide financial help to middle-income families like small-businesses owners and the self-employed.”

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.

The new state subsidies are already helping consumers who have selected a plan for 2020. New data shows that the over 600,000 eligible low-income consumers who qualify for a subsidy are receiving an average of $19 per month per household, while eligible middle-income Californians who receive a subsidy are getting an average of $526 per month per household.

Open enrollment started just under three weeks ago. While preliminary, early data shows that 85 percent of eligible low-income Californians are qualifying for a state subsidy on top of their federal tax credits, and about 50 percent of middle-class Californians across the state with household incomes between 400 and 600 percent federal poverty level are finding out they are eligible to receive a state subsidy starting in January. In general, those not qualifying for a state subsidy either chose a plan that already costs only $1 per member per month after federal credits, or already have a benchmark silver plan that costs less per month as a share of household income than the required contribution under the new law and will benefit directly from the low premium increase.

“We have heard from people across the state who will be saving hundreds of dollars a month because California is putting its people first,” 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 could extend to an individual making up to $74,940 and family of four with a household income of up to $154,500.