Covered California: More affordable health-care options than ever for northern counties | TheUnion.com

Covered California: More affordable health-care options than ever for northern counties

Submitted to The Union

Health insurance coverage will be more affordable than ever before for many people in northern counties thanks to new financial help and competitive rates, a news release states.

Covered California announced the rate change for the region will be -1.7 percent in 2020, which is lower than the statewide average increase of 0.8 percent. According to the release, consumers will pay less than they are paying now, by an average of -8.4 percent, if they shop around and switch to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier.

Also new for 2020, the state of California is making more financial help available to consumers through a new subsidy program that will further lower the cost of coverage.

“Even before considering the positive impact of new state subsidies, many Californians will be seeing little change or even decreases in their underlying premiums, said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.

People who fall within the following income brackets could be eligible for the new financial assistance.

People whose annual household income is less than $17,237 for an individual and $35,535 for a family of four. They will see their premiums for the benchmark plan lowered to $1 per member, per month.

People whose annual household income is between $24,980 and $49,960 for an individual, or between $51,500 and $103,000 for a family of four. They could be eligible to receive an average of an additional $15 per household per month, in addition to any federal financial help they may get.

Middle-income Californians whose annual household income is up to $74,940 for an individual or $154,500 for a family of four. These consumers previously did not qualify for federal financial help because they exceeded income requirements. They could be eligible to receive an average of $172 per household, per month, which will help them save an average of 23 percent off their current premiums. Many of these consumers, particularly those who live in high-cost regions, will see significant savings with annual reductions in their health care premiums in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars.

“California continues to lead the way in this new era of health care,” Lee said. “This first-first-in-the-nation program will make coverage more affordable for many middle-income Californians, such as small-businesses owners, entrepreneurs and contractors.”

The most recent data shows there are more than 51,590 Covered California consumers in the northern counties. Depending on zip code, people in these counties will once again be able to choose plans from Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente. All 11 carriers will continue offering products across the state in 2020, and Anthem Blue Cross will expand. That means 87 percent of Californians will be able to choose from three carriers or more, the release states, and 99.6 percent of consumers will have two or more choices.

Consumers can find out what they will pay for their 2020 coverage starting during the renewal period in October, when they can visit Covered California’s website at http://www.CoveredCA.com and begin using the Shop and Compare Tool for 2020.

Consumers who do not have health insurance will be able to begin signing up for 2020 coverage in the fall. Others with special qualifying life events, like losing their coverage or moving, can enroll year-round. Medi-Cal enrollment is also year-round.

Interested consumers should go to http://www.CoveredCA.com to find out if they qualify for financial help and find free local help to enroll. They can contact the Covered California service center for enrollment assistance by calling 800-300-1506.

Source: Covered California


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