SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Officials with Covered California announced on Wednesday that ten insurance companies will offer plans through the state’s health insurance exchange next year. Average premium rates, however, will also increase.

Premiums for health plans purchased through Covered California will go up an average of 4.2 percent next year. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said that while some people’s premiums will go down, others could increase as much as ten percent.

“Covered California and the Affordable Health Care Act have not made healthcare inexpensive in America,” Lee said. “What we’ve done is give a leg up to people to make it affordable.”

Despite the increases, they are lower than what many critics of Obamacare had predicted. They worried rates would sharply rise after insurers were prohibited from denying coverage to people due to their prior conditions and new patients that would use services.

Lee said the exchange is continuing to work on the next open enrollment, which begins in Nov. 15 and will run through Feb. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1.

“We say often that we have not been perfect; our enrollment system works most of the time. The Kaiser family survey found that the majority of people said the system works pretty well for them. They understood it; it worked okay and we’re improving it,” he said. “We’re making it easier, more consumer friendly, we’re adding staff at our service center. We want to make sure that people who come to get new insurance can do it smoothly.”

The health insurance companies participating in Covered California for 2015 include: Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Kaiser Permanente, as well as several smaller companies.

The plans for 2015 will also include coverage for children’s dental services.


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