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Sign up by Dec. 31 for New Year gift of health

There is no better gift that people can have than good health, which is especially important during this age of the COVID-19 pandemic. And California’s Obamacare health care exchange, Covered California, is urging African-Americans — disproportionately impacted by the COVID virus – to gift themselves with good health coverage and enroll in brand-name health plans that often cost less than $10 and even $0 per month.

“This year, in the midst of a global health crisis and recession, having access to quality health care is paramount,” said Peter V. Lee, Covered California’s executive director. “And the good news is that having health coverage is now more affordable than ever before. During this holiday season, what better way to show a loved one that you care than by giving the gift of health.”

Covered California’s open enrollment period officially began in November and runs through Jan. 31.  A record-high number of 1.6 million consumers are currently enrolled in Covered California health plans and are receiving federal and state financial help to afford their health coverage. This record enrollment has been driven by the increased financial help included in the American Rescue Plan, which is the landmark federal law passed earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession it has sparked.

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities make many people of color still at increased risk of getting sick, being hospitalized, and dying from COVID-19, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, people of color—specifically African- Americans—have much higher incidences of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund.

“Health insurance can have a lasting impact,” Lee said. “From day one, Covered California has worked hard to connect with the state’s diverse communities. We believe that part of addressing the disparities exposed by the pandemic is by effectively reaching out to enroll all Californians into comprehensive health plans.”

An estimated 1.1 million Californians are without health insurance today and eligible for financial help. Many of them can get free health coverage through Medi-Cal or can get major financial help to purchase a name-brand health plan through Covered California — dramatically lowering their monthly health care costs. Covered California estimates about 940,000 Californians of those1.1 million people who are uninsured, can get comprehensive health coverage at no monthly premium, either through Medi-Cal or Covered California.

Even for those not eligible for a $0 monthly premium, many Californians will be able to get significant savings on their health coverage.  In California, the vast majority of those getting financial help could get quality, name-brand health plans for less than $10.

“Affordability is the number one issue for consumers, and the financial help available through Covered California helps bring the cost of coverage within reach,” Lee said.

Covered California is currently working with 12 health insurance carriers statewide for the 2022 health coverage year, and nearly all Californians will have two or more choices of health insurers in their local areas to choose from.

Consumers will need to sign up by Dec. 31 in order to have their health coverage begin on Jan. 1, and they can quickly and easily find out if they qualify for financial help and see the health coverage options in their area by visiting 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 addition to visiting, those interested in learning more about their health coverage options can also:

• Get free and confidential assistance, 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.