Open enrollment began November 15, 2014. During the first 30 days of this year’s open enrollment period, more than 592,000 applications were submitted seeking health insurance and were deemed eligible for private coverage or eligible or likely eligible for Medi-Cal.
Creative Commons image courtesy of MedicareMall.com on Flickr
“We saw tremendous momentum during the first month of open enrollment, with more than 25,000 people completing enrollment on Monday [Dec. 15, 2014] alone,” Executive Director of Covered California Peter V. Lee said. “This is further proof of the great demand that Californians have for quality, affordable health care coverage. With only two months to sign up, all Californians should be considering their options now so they can get covered in 2015.”
Remember that due to the Individual Mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, most Californians are required to sign up for health insurance. Failure to comply with this mandate results in an annual fine at the time of your tax filing. The fine for not having health insurance for more than 3 months in 2014 is the greater amount of 1% of the annual income (up to $285) or $95/adult and $47.50/child.
The fine will increase each year for the next few years. Certain individuals are exempt from the mandate due to reasons like financial hardship. However, these individuals are typically also eligible for health insurance coverage through Medi-Cal.
“Even though Medi-Cal enrolls throughout the year, it’s important for those without insurance to apply as soon as possible, so they can start enjoying the security of health care coverage,” said Toby Douglas, Department of Health Care Services Director. “We’re encouraged that more and more Californians are taking advantage of these coverage opportunities through Medi-Cal and Covered California.”
Covered California is working hard to make sure enrollments that were started are completed in a timely manner. However, more than 150,000 applications were submitted without a plan selected. “Many consumers are new to health insurance, and they may need assistance to get across the finish line,” Lee explained. “We encourage those consumers to get help — from our Service Center or from tens of thousands of insurance agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors or county eligibility workers in the communities — so they can obtain health coverage as soon as possible.”
Lee added, “The evidence is clear that Covered California’s effort to encourage people to get help in their communities or with Covered California is working.” Louis Barnett & Associates are your local resource for Covered California or any insurance-related needs!