- The American Rescue Plan
- New and expanded financial help for Californians
- Preliminary rate increase for California’s individual market
- Californians will have two or more choices (up to four)
If you live in California then you’ve likely heard the term Covered California, a free service that connects Californians with brand-name health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Individuals can get financial help with a purchase of health insurance from well-known companies. That means when you apply, you may qualify for a discount on a health plan through Covered California, or get health insurance through the state’s Medi-Cal program.
While you can find more information about Covered California on the official CoveredCA website, we want to focus on recent and upcoming changes Californians can expect, taken directly from Covered CA News.
The American Rescue Plan to provide lower premiums than 2021:
The American Rescue Plan will continue to provide lower premiums, at levels never seen before, throughout the entire 2022 coverage year. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – H.R. 1319 – was enacted on March 11, 2021. The legislation has since provided a great deal of financial relief to Americans struggling with the fallout of the ongoing COVID pandemic.
In 2021 only, the American Rescue Plan provided the maximum amount of financial help for health insurance for people who qualified for – or collected – unemployment for at least one week.
While this benefit had been set to expire in 2021, individuals could still take advantage of the expanded financial help available under the American Rescue Plan in 2022.
If you do need to secure your own coverage, Covered California is the only place to apply for financial help. You can apply for coverage today due to job loss, or other qualifying events, or during the open enrollment period which runs through January 31, 2022.
Californians to receive new and expanded financial help:
The new and expanded financial help has led to a record 1.6 million people enrolled in Covered California, which gives the state one of the healthiest consumer pools in the nation for the seventh consecutive year.
- More than 76,000 people signed up for health insurance during Covered California’s special-enrollment period between April 12 and May 15.
The surge is more than 2.5 times higher than a traditional special-enrollment period, reflecting an increase of more than 46,000 people, compared to the same time period in 2019.
- Covered California launched a special-enrollment period to allow the uninsured and those enrolled directly through a health insurance carrier to enroll and benefit from lower premiums due to the American Rescue Plan.
- More than half of the Covered California households which are benefiting from the new and expanded financial help provided by the American Rescue Plan are getting high-quality coverage for $1 per month.
- In order to start saving, Californians need to enroll by May 31 so they can begin benefiting from the new law on June 1.
Click here to read more about the new financial help and lower premiums that are now available through the ARP.
Preliminary rate increases for California’s individual market:
The record enrollment and healthy consumer pool were key factors in negotiating a preliminary rate increase for California’s individual market of just 1.8 percent in 2022, and a three-year average of only 1.1 percent (2020-2022).
The rate changes for 2022 are higher than the rate changes have been for the past two years (when they were under 1% each year), but the average rate increase across the three-year window amounts to just 1.1%, indicating significant stability in the state’s individual insurance market.
Anthem Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, and Valley Health Plan are all expanding their coverage areas for 2022, and Bright Health is newly joining the exchange.
For more informatoin regarding rate changes in California’s individual market, check out this article.
Californians will have two or more choices (up to four):
With expansions of coverage by several carriers and a new carrier in one region, consumers will have even more choice: All Californians will have two or more choices, 94 percent will be able to choose from three carriers or more, and 81 percent of Californians will have four or more choices.
One of the goals of the ACA was to increase competition in the individual health insurance market. The exchanges are set up to facilitate that, with enrollees able to compare options from all of the participating insurers and select the plan that best fits their needs.