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More people now eligible for health insurance through Covered California, open enrollment underway

Hundreds of thousands more Californians are now eligible for low-cost or no-cost health insurance coverage, who previously did not qualify.

SAN DIEGO — Open enrollment for Covered California, the state's program that offers discounted health insurance, is currently underway.

This year, hundreds of thousands of Californians who were not previously eligible can now qualify.

Through Covered California, the state is seeing record low levels of uninsured residents and record high levels of enrollment in Covered California: now 1.7 million people.

Even so, more than a million Californians currently without health insurance are eligible for low-cost or no-cost coverage.

The message is clear: Californians need health insurance, and Covered California is an option for an increasing number of them.

"Ninety percent of the people we cover are receiving assistance, and the assistance averages 80 percent of the cost of the monthly premium," said Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California. Altman said that two-thirds of enrollees qualify for comprehensive coverage for less than ten dollars a month, with many accessing plans at no cost.

"If you don't have insurance, come to Covered California, because we could be the option for you and health care could be more affordable than you think it is," she told CBS 8. 

Even if you do have insurance, but it's not affordable, Covered California is worth exploring.

Thanks to a recent change in the Affordable Care Act, if a family's premium costs more than 9.12% of their household income, they could be eligible for discounted rates through Covered California. It's a change that includes as many as 400,000 eligible Californians

Previously, those who had access to health insurance through a family member's employer, even if it wasn't affordable, were not eligible for Covered California. 

One analysis found that a family of four making $53,000 would save about $4,340 a year in health insurance premiums.

"Our financial assistance is based on your household and your household income," Altman said, "so the more you need, the more you get."

She also pointed out that over a million Californians currently without insurance could qualify for low or no-cost coverage: 79,000 of whom live here in the San Diego region.

"If you are one of those people listening in San Diego, health care may be more in reach than you think it is," she added. "Now is the time to take five minutes and see if Covered California is for you."

To check out the Covered California website to see if you may be eligible, click here.  

While you can enroll on-line, there are also more than 11,000 enrollment partners locally who can help you to sign up for Covered California, either in-person or over the telephone.

Open enrollment runs through the end of January. Keep in mind, though, you need to enroll by December 31 in order to be covered for all of 2023. 

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