New enrollment in Covered California drops 3 percent
By Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle
Updated 5:44 pm, Monday, February 6, 2017
The number of Californians newly signed up for health insurance through
Covered California, the statefs insurance marketplace created under the
Affordable Care Act, dropped 3 percent compared with last year, according to
enrollment figures released by Covered California on Monday.
About 412,000 people signed up for health plans through the exchange during
the open enrollment period for 2017, compared with 425,000 who signed up during
open enrollment last year.
The falloff comes amid a national decline in enrollment in health plans
through Healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace used in several dozen
states but not California, which fell for the first time, according to figures
released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Friday. The number
of people signed up for Healthcare.gov plans fell by 500,000, or about 5
percent, to 9.2 million people.
The drop coincides with continued promises by President Trump and Republicans
in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack
Obamafs signature health care law. Republicans in recent days have softened
their rhetoric on replacement legislation, and some are now referring to the
efforts as a grepairh plan. In an interview on Fox News that aired Sunday, Trump
said it may take until 2018 to come out with replacement legislation.
In California, open enrollment was originally to end Jan. 31, but the
deadline was extended four days.
State officials said the volume of signups met their projections of 400,000
new enrollees. About 1.5 million Californians now have health insurance through
the exchange. Overall enrollment in Covered California was up from 1.3 million
gWhen consumers know they have a pathway to get health care made affordable
by tax credits, they sign up,h said Covered California Executive Director Peter
Lee in a statement.
Covered California, which began in October 2013, allows people to use
federal subsidies to buy health plans from private insurers. About 90 percent of
people who buy plans on the exchange do so with the help of the