Board Shake-up in the Offing at Covered California?

California’s health insurance exchange signed up more than 144,000 people in the first month this year and determined that another 157,000 were eligible for coverage.

Another 216,423 enrolled in the state’s healthcare program for low-income residents and 75,000 were determined likely eligible for Medi-Cal, officials said Wednesday.

In its second year of operation, Covered California began taking new patients on Nov. 15 and has gotten off to a quick start. Executive Director Peter V. Lee said in the first month that more residents selected private plans via the exchange than did in the first two months of open enrollment last year. Some 25,000 people completed enrollment on Monday alone, Lee said. Those interested in coverage beginning Jan. 1 have until Sunday to complete their enrollment.

The latest round of upbeat news for the exchange comes amid a potential shakeup of its volunteer, part-time board of directors. On Monday, Dr. Robert Ross, chief executive of the California Endowment, resigned from the board effective Dec. 31, two years before his current term ends.

In a prepared statement, Ross thanked former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and incoming Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León for the opportunity to “contribute to California’s groundbreaking and historic efforts to bring affordable care to the citizens of the Golden State.”

A spokesman for the endowment said Wednesday that Ross maintains a busy travel schedule for work and serves on multiple volunteer boards and commissions. That was catching up with him, spokesman Jeff Okey said, noting that it was important to Ross to get the exchange up and running before he left.

Two other board members, Kim Belshé and Susan Kennedy, have terms expiring at the end of the year.

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