Covered California Opens Doors for Millions to Benefit From Lower Health Care Costs 

With more financial help than ever, Covered California has launched a new special enrollment period to sign up for health insurance, touting $3 billion in extra federal support to help more Californians afford and keep their health coverage. According to Covered California, African Americans and other people of color will be among the primary targets to benefit from this new round of financial help. 

People who are currently uninsured, or insured directly through a health insurance company, can sign up now with Covered California and see lower monthly health care premiums than ever before. Many people could get a quality, brand-name health insurance plan for as little as $1 per month, while others could save hundreds of dollars a month if they switch their coverage to Covered California. 

The lower premiums are the result of the American Rescue Plan, the landmark federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic recently approved by Congress and signed into law last month by President Joe Biden. The new law provides new and expanded financial help to people who get health insurance coverage through Covered California.

An estimated 2.5 million Californians – especially lower- and middle-income consumers — could be eligible for expanded financial help to greatly reduce their monthly health care costs, including people currently uninsured, consumers who are buying coverage directly from an insurance carrier, and Covered California’s existing members.

“This new and expanded financial help provided by the American Rescue Plan will help more Californians get covered and stay covered by lowering health care premiums, and for many, putting money back into their pockets,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “The new financial help is only available through Covered California, and if you sign up by April 30, you will find big savings by May 1. You owe it to yourself to check if you benefit — and the sooner you sign up, the more you can save.” 

That is good news to Manny Otiko, a freelance writer in Southern California. Otiko has worked in the media for more than 20 years as a journalist and a public relations professional. 

“After being hit with an $8,000 bill for a kidney stone, I learned the hard way that it’s better to have insurance than not have insurance,” Otiko said. “The good thing about Covered California is the price is affordable. I had looked before, and the plans were out of my range. Now Covered California fits my budget.”

Now enrolled, the American Rescue Plan will lower Otiko’s monthly health care premium by nearly $100 per month, and that’s on top of him already saving about $200 every month with financial assistance from Covered California to lower his health care costs.                                        

Covered California also launched a new advertising campaign for special enrollment that it says will reach every community in the Golden State, with an emphasis on African American, Hispanic, Asian communities, which represent the groups hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. This new campaign will use television, radio, print, and digital advertising to reach communities of color statewide.                                                   

In addition to multicultural media efforts, Covered California will emphasize specific ethnic markets and media channels to reach more African Americans, Hispanics, Asians. Tentative Covered California ethnic outreach strategies include partnering with popular DJ personalities on top-rated radio stations to encourage consumers to enroll. 

Covered California will also use its community Navigator organizations on the ground to spread the word and engage with local clinics and COVID-19 vaccination sites, work with community assistance programs like food banks, and participate on social media sites used by African Americans and other people of color.

Those interested in learning more about their health coverage options through Covered California and Medi-Cal can:

• Visit www.CoveredCA.com.

• Find local help from insurance agents or individuals in Navigator organizations who provide free and confidential assistance over the phone or in person, in a variety of languages.

• Get a call from certified enroller. Covered California will have someone reach out to the consumer to help them for free.

• Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.