Press release
September 10, 2013

Imminent Milestone Moment: 5,871,000 Californians Can Begin to Enroll in 20 Days to Receive Financial Help for Affordable Health Coverage

Starting on October 1, Californians Can Take Steps to Get Financial Help for Health Coverage Either through a New Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid
New Protections Will Also Become Available for 16,133,000 Californians with Pre-Existing Health Conditions

Washington, D.C. – Starting on October 1, 2013, approximately 5,871,000 Californians can start to enroll in health coverage with unprecedented financial help so that comprehensive insurance becomes affordable, according to a new analysis by the consumer health organization Families USA.

Californians that enroll will receive this help effective January 1, 2014.

The new financial help through the Affordable Care Act becomes available for middle- and moderate-income people who do not have meaningful job-based health coverage. The financial help extends to four-person families with annual incomes below $94,200 and individuals with annual incomes below $45,960.

Individuals newly eligible for financial help can receive that help through a new health insurance marketplace, Covered California, which becomes operational on October 1. They can enroll in coverage and receive substantial premium tax credits; the size of the tax credits will vary, with those needing greater help receiving larger tax credits.

Californians with the lowest incomes—those with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, $32,499 for a family of four, $15,856 for an individual—will be eligible for health coverage through the newly expanded Medicaid program.

A key provision of the new law that will also go into effect on January 1 prohibits insurance companies from denying health coverage or charging high and discriminatory premiums to people with pre-existing health conditions. Starting on October 1, an estimated 16,133,000 Californians with a pre-existing health condition can start to enroll in coverage through Covered California without facing discrimination.

To enroll starting on October 1, Californians can visit www.coveredca.com or call 1-888-975-1142.

This new analysis from Families USA not only describes the new benefits and protections that will become available for Californians soon, but it also lists the benefits already provided through the Affordable Care Act, such as:

  • Approximately 435,000 young adults in California have gained insurance by staying on their parents’ health policies until they turn 26.
  • 1,433,787 Californians received rebates totaling $65,659,905 from their insurance companies in 2012 because those companies failed to spend at least 80-85 percent of their premium dollars on health care.
  • 2,153,101 Medicare beneficiaries in California received at least one cost-free preventive service—such as an annual check-up, mammogram, or bone mass measurement—in 2012.
  • In 2012, 299,896 Medicare Part D beneficiaries in California received discounts on brand-name drugs while in the coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole," with an average $609 in savings per beneficiary.

Additionally, the law has already protected numerous Californians by ending lifetime caps in insurance coverage, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees.

"Our nation will soon take a giant step toward making high-quality health coverage affordable for all Americans," said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. "As we count down the days to October 1, it will be important that all Californians learn about these breakthrough opportunities.

"For Californians that enroll for this help soon, they will quickly receive the peace of mind and security that comes with knowing that their families can get the health care they need when they need it."