Health Care Reform
Small nonprofits offering insurance plans on California’s health care exchange are lagging well behind major insurers in sign-ups, potentially undermining a key goal of the federal Affordable Care Act, which sought to drive down costs by increasing competition.
Despite an extended deadline to sign up for health care under Covered California, some in the Bay Area are choosing to pay a penalty instead of insurance because of the cost.
Late in the day, as it became apparent that some consumers could not even begin their application process, Covered California announced a new policy that effectively extends the sign-up deadline for two weeks.
California’s health exchange is more than halfway toward meeting its original projection of 1.3 million sign-ups for individual insurance policies by the March 31 enrollment deadline, according to federal data released Wednesday.
Officials with California’s health insurance exchange Tuesday said about 625,000 people have signed up for an individual or family policy under the federal health care reforms, but enrollments for Latinos and younger people continue to lag expectations.
With its first major deadline in the past, California’s health insurance exchange is urging the thousands of people who enrolled for coverage to take the next step and pay for it.
Monday was the deadline to apply for health coverage beginning with the new year, but it was extended until Friday for those who had already started the process.
Friday will be the end of the grace period to get health insurance starting Jan. 1 for consumers who were frustrated in their attempts to sign up by Monday’s deadline.
The agency overseeing California’s health insurance exchange offered a bit of breathing room for consumers who tried but failed to meet Monday’s deadline for coverage starting in the new year, as its website and call centers were overwhelmed by last-minute demand.
Older Californians are continuing to enroll in the state’s health exchange at a higher rate than younger residents, according to figures released Thursday.