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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

SACRAMENTO—During this historic COVID pandemic, more people than ever before signed up for health insurance through Covered California, the state agency that administers the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

With a record 1.6 million consumers now enrolled in brand-name health plans through Covered California, the agency recently announced that the renewal process is now underway for its current members for health coverage in 2022. The good news is that he vast majority of Covered California members will receive financial help, from the new American Rescue Plan, that will dramatically lower their monthly health care costs.

This year, Covered California has also seen an uptick in African Americans enrolling in health plans, with quality health care being critical during the pandemic. African American enrollment in Covered California health plans increased more than 30 percent in 2021 over last year.

“Covered California continues to meet the needs of the state’s diverse population during this pandemic and heads into the upcoming open-enrollment period next month with more enrollees than ever,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “The surge in enrollment is driven by the increased financial help and lower monthly premiums made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which is helping more Californians than ever to get access to quality and affordable health care – no matter their income level.”

New Financial Help and Credits Available to Lower Monthly Health Plan Costs to $0

The American Rescue Plan provides new and expanded financial help that will be available throughout 2022, which will help Californians across all income levels. The financial help covers about 90 percent of a consumer’s monthly health insurance premiums, making the cost of health coverage more affordable than ever before. It’s important to note that you can only get this financial help through Covered California.

Covered California also estimates that about 1 million of its existing members will be eligible for coverage at no cost because of a new state law called the California Premium Credit. The new law means that some consumers will be able to get the same comprehensive health coverage – with all the benefits and protections of the Affordable Care Act – for free, and the State of California will be providing a credit of $1 per member per month for all Covered California members throughout 2022.

“Getting more people insured, and keeping them insured, not only leads to better health outcomes – it also lowers the cost of health insurance for everyone,” Lee said. Current Covered California enrollees can begin renewing their health coverage now, and they have until Dec. 31 to renew their existing health plan or make changes to their plans for 2022. People who do

not actively select a plan for next year will be renewed in their current health plan, so they do not suffer a gap in coverage.

When consumers renew their coverage, many will find that they have more choices to choose from this year. Three of Covered California’s health insurance companies will be expanding their coverage areas, and a new company will be joining the marketplace, bringing the total number of health carriers to 12 for 2022. These are brand-name health insurance companies—Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Bright Health Care, Chinese Community Health Plan, Healthnet, Kaiser, L.A. Care, Molina Healthcare, Oscar, Sharp Health Plan, Valley Health Care, Western Health Advantage—who offer quality care through some of the best doctors and hospitals in the state.