About 342,000 Californians have signed up for health insurance through Covered California since open enrollment began in November — up roughly 7 percent compared to this time last year, according to figures released by the agency Monday.
Covered California is the state agency created under the Affordable Care Act to sell health plans to Californians who do not get insurance through their employers or Medi-Cal, the insurance program for the poor. Many consumers receive federal subsidies, based on income, to buy coverage through Covered California.
The annual open enrollment period began Nov. 1 and is slated to end Jan. 31. Premiums on average are up 12.5 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, though many consumers’ subsidies are also expected to rise as well — offsetting the increase for some.
“The demand — as well as the need — for health insurance is as strong today as it was when we first began offering coverage five years ago,” Covered California executive director Peter V. Lee said in a statement.
Last month, Congress passed tax legislation that eliminates the requirement for Americans to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty, known as the individual mandate, enacted under the ACA. However, the repeal of the mandate does not take effect until 2019.