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Covered California launches open-enrollment period

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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra

Covered California welcomed Secretary Xavier Becerra of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to officially launch open enrollment across the nation for the 2022 coverage year. Open enrollment is a time when Americans can sign up for or renew their coverage through Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is investing in the most robust open-enrollment campaign to date — with record-low prices, more choices and 30 more days to pick a plan than last season,” said Becerra. “Health care should be a right and in reach for everyone. This open-enrollment season, we will get closer to achieving that goal.”

The open-enrollment period begins with a record-high 1.6 million in Covered California.

“Secretary Becerra and the Biden administration have shown that by building on the Affordable Care Act, we can go a long way toward achieving our goal of true universal coverage,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health and Human Services secretary and chair of the Covered California board of directors. “Californians need to see what their coverage options are and find out how affordable insurance can be at”

A recent report found that for those who are still uninsured, the increased financial help is good news. An estimated 1.1 million Californians are eligible for financial help. More than 85 percent of that group (about 940,000 people) could get comprehensive quality care with no monthly premium.

“The Affordable Care Act is working both nationally and here in California, serving as a critical safety net for those who need coverage, and now is the time to sign up,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “The amount of financial help available through 2022, and for many years to come if the Build Back Better plan is enacted into law, will cover the entire cost of many people’s monthly premiums.”

In California, more than 70 percent of consumers who get subsidies could choose health coverage for less than $10 per month, which is very similar to the national figure.

In addition, one of the big improvements of the American Rescue Plan is that it makes financial help available for middle-income consumers who were previously ineligible for federal assistance. Now, families earning more than $100,000 a year can be eligible for financial help. On average, the families who are receiving subsidies are saving nearly $800 a month on their premiums.

The open-enrollment period is also a time to save for those who are currently insured directly through a health insurance company. An estimated 260,000 Californians have direct coverage — also known as “off-exchange” coverage. They can sign up through Covered California and potentially get the same plan they have off-exchange, or shop for other coverage that best fits their needs, and save hundreds of dollars per month.

“Californians who are paying for health insurance directly can switch to Covered California and get the same level of coverage — likely from the same company — and save thousands of dollars over the course of the year,” Lee said. “These are the last Americans not getting federal financial help to cover their insurance, since even those of us with employer-based coverage get an invisible leg up from the federal tax system to make our coverage more affordable.”

Californians will find they have more health insurance options to choose from this year. Starting in 2022, three of Covered California’s health insurance companies will expand their coverage areas, and a new company will join the marketplace. As a result, with 12 carriers providing coverage across the state in 2022, all Californians will have two or more choices, 94 percent will be able to choose from three carriers or more, 81 percent of Californians will have four or more choices, and 70 percent of people will have five or more carriers to choose from.

Consumers can discover their options by visiting and quickly and easily find out if they qualify for financial help and see the coverage options in their area. They just need to enter their household income, ZIP code, household size and the number of people who need coverage and their ages into the calculator on Covered California’s homepage.

In California, open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, 2022 and it is the one time of the year when eligible people cannot be turned away from coverage. In addition to visiting, those interested in learning more about their coverage options can also:

• Get free and confidential assistance over the phone, 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.