|The federal government will spend $10 million to advertise open enrollment for health insurance this year, whereas CoveredCA will spend $110 million on marketing and navigators. (Goir/IStockPhoto)|
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The annual open-enrollment period for the state health-insurance marketplace starts today, and its backers say the deals are out there despite all the changes coming out of Washington.
Repeal efforts failed three times in Congress, so the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. President Trump did recently scrap cost-reduction payments to insurers – a move that means most silver-level plans will go up in cost – but the federal subsidies will also rise to compensate. Peter Lee, executive director of the state marketplace, Covered California, said most plans actually are cheaper this year.
“All the rumbles in Washington are irrelevant to the kitchen-table decision of ‘Do I need coverage?’ The answer is yes,” he said. “Can you afford it? For many, we are the way to get affordable health care.”
About 1.4 million Californians get coverage through the Covered California individual marketplace, and more than a million of them qualify for help paying the premiums. Lee said he expects to sign up about 400,000 people this year, about the same as last year.
Louise McCarthy, president and chief executive of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said navigators at her clinics stand ready to help people find the best policy and will give them truthful answers.
“This year in particular, we recognize that it’s really critical for folks to get access to facts about coverage,” she said. “For clinics, they’re a key resource to the communities and can help dispel the myths, rumors or other misinformation that might be spreading.”
People can look online at CoveredCA.org to check out the plans or to make a free appointment with a navigator or insurance agent to discuss their options. The open-enrollment period in California lasts until the end of January, but you’ll need to sign up by Dec. 15 if you want your coverage to take effect Jan. 1.