Health Care In The States

California Bright Spot In Obamacare, Makes Up One-Third Of All Marketplace Enrollees

By Anna Gorman

November 14th, 2013, 6:15 AM

Nearly 60,000 Californians have enrolled in insurance plans under the nation’s health law since its launch on Oct. 1, officials from the state’s marketplace announced Wednesday.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said the early numbers exceeded his expectations. “We’re very pleased with the momentum,” he said. “Consumers are doing their shopping … They are picking the plans that are right for them.”

In addition to those enrolled in insurance plans, another 72,000 were determined to be eligible for Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

The number of enrollees is continuing to grow each day, Lee said. The federal government announced earlier Wednesday that 35,364 Californians signed up for plans between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2, making up one third of the total number enrolled nationwide. California had more people enrolled than the 27,000 from all 36 states with exchanges run by the federal government.

Across the country, 106,185 people signed up for insurance coverage during that time period – far fewer than the administration had hoped for. Website delays and problems kept many from successfully signing up.

The state also released results of an internal survey that showed 70 percent of people enrolled said the process was easy to complete.

The majority of those enrolled through California’s insurance marketplace so far tend to be older than average and not eligible for financial subsidies, Lee said. “These are people who have been waiting for a long time to get coverage,” he said.

Lee said he expected that, over time, more young people would sign up. Younger, healthy people are critical to the success of the law, because they will balance out those who are anxious for coverage because they have expensive health care needs. The state expects that by the end of March, between 500,000 and 700,000 people who are eligible for subsidies will sign up for coverage.

California State University Los Angeles Professor Walter Zelman, who is overseeing a Covered California outreach grant, said he expects young people to sign up but not right away. “To have expected them to enroll this quickly was a bit of a fantasy,” he said. “Explaining this whole new system – especially in the wake of the relentless negativity from the opposition – is a difficult challenge.”

Federal and state officials attributed some of the early success of Covered California to the extensive outreach and education effort taking place in communities across the state. Last spring, Covered California began awarding grants to community groups, universities and others to explain the new health insurance options.

The California Endowment also has invested in a partnership with Spanish-language media to reach Latinos in the state. And there have been billboards, television and radio commercials and online advertising.

But the state has encountered some problems since the launch, including a delay in training enrollment counselors.

To begin receiving coverage on Jan. 1, consumers must pick a plan by Dec. 15. The open enrollment for the insurance marketplaces lasts until March 31.

California has almost 7 million people without health coverage.

agorman@kff.org

5 Responses to “California Bright Spot In Obamacare, Makes Up One-Third Of All Marketplace Enrollees”

  1. JIm says:

    the insurance market is very important to all of us.

    dental instrument

  2. Really?
    In a state with more than 38,040,000 people (that’s 38.04 MILLION), only 60,000 (that’s 60 Thousand) have elected to adopt obamacare. That equates to .15 percent, or a little more than 1/10 of one percent of the people. (That is UNDER 1% for those who aren’t great at math).

    Now THAT is a figure to be praised, lauded, and advertised as a real success.

    BTW. I hope all the job losses, raised insurance premiums, and canceled insurance policies caused by this much debated, “never read or understood before it passed” law.

    I hope you socialists are proud of the destruction of this once great nation that you have caused by your “save the world” mentality.

  3. john says:

    This is no surprise Cali would lead the way.
    Now onto Emigration reform or Emigration executive order or “The No Child Left Behind In Mexico Act”. We are going to need to make the Illegals Legal to get them to sign onto CommunismCare

  4. tony says:

    I’m old enough to remember the rollout of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Each program had supporters and detractors. The detractors, mostly Republicans, all said that the sky would fall and it would be the end of America. They called it “socialism” and “communism”. They called it a welfare state. They all said America would become a 3rd world country as a result of these “socialist” and “communist” programs. The rollout of each of these programs was far from perfect. In fact, all of them were seriously flawed at the start. Same is true with Romneycare in Massachusetts. They had a trickle of people sign up at first. It didn’t improve for a while. HOWEVER, if history and the facts have anything to do with it, Obamacare will be just fine. Chicken Little will have to go back into his chicken coop because the sky will not fall. The end is not near. America will survive this and become greater for it. More Americans will be insured and that’s a good thing in spite of how much Republicans hate poor people.

  5. Raymond Neutra says:

    I would like to know what fraction of the 7 million people without insurance will be eligible for ObamaCare. Let’s say 6 million.

    Then 60,000 = 1% of those who ought to enroll. We have 6 weeks to get the remaining 99% enrolled. We need 1 million people per week to enroll. Quite a challenge.

    Do we have an estimate of the number of people in California who have had their existing policies cancelled and have to get new policies? These must be added to the 6 million who are getting new policies.

Share