From our friends at Health Access California:
Today, Covered California begins open enrollment for around 1.4 million Californians, who will be able to choose among eleven health plans regardless of pre-existing conditions and get financial assistance to afford health coverage. California's open enrollment continues through January 31, 2017, even as President Trump has cut that time in half for many other states. California has taken multiple steps to shield consumers from the sabotage of the federal attacks.
We know there's been a lot of confusion, but Covered California is open for business!
Despite federal uncertainty, affordability assistance continues to be available to ensure that 86% of those in Covered California will not have to pay more than a percentage of their income for a silver-level plan. Thanks to steps taken by the state, those who qualify for subsidies--which includes families of four who make up to $96,000--will be protected from rate hikes, including the "Trump tax" created from President Trump's decision to defund cost-sharing subsidies.
Consumers should not be scared off by premiums at the first glance as they may be eligible for financial assistance, or cheaper options. Those who are subsidized should take advantage of the silver plan's cost-sharing reductions; those who are not subsidized can avoid the 12% surcharge caused by the President's actions by choosing from other tiers or even off the exchange.
It's more important than ever that consumers actively shop and compare plans. For those who are renewing individual insurance coverage, the best deal last year is not necessarily the best deal this year. Instead of just renewing your existing coverage, shopping around could limit rate increases to as little as three percent. Over 96% of Covered California consumers will have at least 2 plan choices and 82% of consumers will have more than 3 plans to choose from. If your Anthem or Cigna plan is leaving your area, California has instituted protections through SB 133 (Hernandez), to ensure that you will have continuity of care and can keep seeing your doctor if you're in the middle of treatment.
The federal fight around health care isn't over, but that shouldn't stop any Californian from meeting their critical coverage and care needs. To protect our progress on health care, the best thing we can do is sign up for coverage, and then make it really hard for our Congressmembers to take it away.