What is Covered California?

Covered California is a new health coverage marketplace where you can easily purchase quality health insurance at an affordable price and access financial help to pay for it. You’ll be able to shop online, over the phone, or in person for the health insurance option that’s right for you.

Through Covered California, individuals and small businesses can compare different insurance plans. People will be able to find out if they qualify for federal financial help that lowers the cost of health insurance and if they are eligible for health programs like Medi-Cal. Additionally, employers with fewer than 25 full-time employees will be able to find out if they qualify for small business tax credits that lower the costs of providing health insurance to their employees.

Covered California says health insurance has gotten too cheap to ignore

A new federal law could make it much cheaper to buy your own insurance if you don’t have coverage through an employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.

The law provides billions of federal dollars to lower premiums for people who buy coverage through the insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

This help extends a federal tax credit created by the ACA that can be received in advance as a discount on your premium, or as a claim on your taxes for the following year. These subsidies are available to those who buy individual or family policies in the private market outside of the ACA exchanges. So if you have a health plan outside of these marketplaces, you could save a lot of money by switching to one offered by the ACA marketplaces.

If you’re already enrolled in a Marketplace plan, you could see a lower bill, in many cases much lower, starting as early as your May premium.

Covered California, the state’s ACA health insurance marketplace, opened a special enrollment period on April 12 for people who want to take advantage of new help when signing up or changing coverage. The period extends until December. Newly enhanced subsidies take effect with coverage beginning May 1. To get coverage on the first day of any month, you just need to sign up the day before.

Nearly 90% of Covered California beneficiaries already receive financial help, and many will now receive more. Some members who previously did not qualify for tax credits may now be eligible.

Darci Gutierrez, an insurance agent in Dublin, California, said a client with a large family saved $425 a month on a Blue Shield PPO at the Silver level, the second-lowest level of coverage.

“I was surprised by the amount of cost reduction. I was like, ‘Holy crap,'” Gutierrez said.

The extra federal help is scheduled to stop after 2022, which means your insurance could cost you more afterward.

The new law also allocates money to provide coverage with virtually no premium, only in 2021, for anyone receiving unemployment benefits at any time during the year.

If you’re already enrolled in Covered California, you can keep your plan and take advantage of the savings, or you can shop around and save even more, or upgrade to a higher level of coverage without increasing your monthly cost.

If you don’t change, Covered California will automatically calculate your lower premium and you’ll see a May credit on your June bill. You’ll also get that savings retroactively for the first four months of 2021 in the form of an additional premium reduction, in equal monthly installments, for the rest of the year.

However, if you are uninsured or have a health plan outside of the ACA Marketplaces, you need to take action. Research your options and sign up, or switch plans.

To find out if you qualify for federal assistance, log on to www.coveredca.com/espanol.

Click the “shop and compare” button to find the health plans available to you in your area, along with the monthly premium you’ll pay after your subsidy is discounted.

You can also click a button to receive a call from a certified health insurance agent who can help you figure it all out, free of charge. If you don’t have a computer, call Covered California’s Spanish line at 800-300-0213.