Number of New Individual and Family Enrollees at Covered California Grows

January 28, 2020

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Source: The Sacramento Bee, by Cathie Anderson

Covered California reported Thursday that the number of new enrollees has surged to 318,000, surpassing the total number from last year, as open enrollment nears its close on Jan. 31.

Still, leaders of the state-based insurance marketplace say a survey shows that many Californians are unaware that a new state law mandates that everyone have health care coverage.

“Thousands are signing up every day, and we’re not done yet,” said Peter V. Lee, Covered California executive director. “Californians have until midnight on January 31 to sign up and not only avoid paying a penalty to the Franchise Tax Board but – for almost a million Californians – get new help from the state to lower their health care costs.”

Many people may recall that the federal government did away with the individual insurance mandate, but they are not aware that California policymakers instituted a state penalty for individuals and families who do not have insurance. It can add up to more than $2,000 for a family of four.

Open enrollment is the one time of year when anyone can sign up for insurance coverage. The rest of the year, consumers have to show that they had a qualifying life change – job loss, relocation to the state or a new baby – to sign up.

The insurance mandate is not the only change to state law that affects health care insurance coverage. State legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom also expanded the financial subsidies to a broader number of state residents, helping even middle-class Californians to cover the cost of insurance.

Lee urged all residents to go to and check their eligibility. You can also call (800) 300-1506 to discuss eligibility.


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