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Covered California offers special enrollment opportunity


Covered California’s annual open-enrollment period may be over, but if you are still uninsured, you may be able to get financial assistance to help you purchase the health coverage you need.

That was the case for Josefina Meneses of Compton, who lost her insurance when her husband Mario Alberto lost his job — just six months after she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.

While open enrollment was over, the Meneses signed up for Covered California during its special-enrollment period in spring of 2017 and kept the coverage needed to treat the tumor on Josefina’s right arm.

“At that time, I felt very sick, to tell you the truth,” Josefina recalled. “I thought those were the last days of my life. I was very desperate. One of my grandchildren said to me, ‘Grandma, I don’t want you to die,’ and I told him, ‘I am not going to die. I’ll fight for you.’”

The 54-year-old Josefina is still fighting, having undergone her third round of chemotherapy in February. It hasn’t been easy, but not having to worry about any of the costs associated with the treatments has relieved her of one burden.

Like the Meneses, those who are eligible can sign up for coverage through Covered California’s special-enrollment period, between now and Oct. 15, as long as they do so within 60 days of a qualifying life event occurring. The following circumstances are among the more common reasons individuals become eligible for special enrollment:

• They lose their health coverage because they have lost or changed jobs.

• They get married or enter a domestic partnership.

• They have a baby, adopt a child or place a child for adoption or in foster care.

• They move and gain access to new Covered California health insurance plans that were not available where they previously lived.

• They become a citizen, a U.S. national or a lawfully present individual.

If you qualify under any of these conditions, you are eligible to get health insurance coverage and join your fellow Californians in having one less thing to worry about.

Make sure you take advantage of the financial help available to you and your family. During the recently completed 2018 open-enrollment period, the 85 percent of Covered California enrollees who receive subsidies saw their cost of coverage dropping 11 percent in 2018 over the previous year. Nearly 60 percent of subsidy-eligible enrollees have access to Silver coverage for less than $100 per month, and 74 percent can purchase Bronze coverage for less than $10 per month. That’s less than what some people pay for their cell phone bill.

“The best decision is to give yourself and your family the peace of mind of having health insurance,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.

Lee said the exchange, which added 423,484 plan selections during the open-enrollment period that concluded on Jan. 31, is proud to be part of the effort that continues helping millions of people get the coverage and care they need—despite all of the political rhetoric coming out of Washington.