Covered California Open Enrollment Has Begun
By Sherry Grant, Esq.
All Californians can sign up for Covered California, the state's health insurance marketplace, during its open enrollment period that began on November 1 and runs through January 31, 2016.
This is the third such open enrollment period since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, and confusion continues to reign. Covered California's plans are divided into four tiers--Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze—that offer varying premiums costs and deductible rates. Survey data reported recently in The Los Angeles Times indicate that 36 percent of uninsured Californians are unaware of the premium subsides available under the Affordable Care Act. But, almost 80 percent were aware of the tax penalty for being uninsured.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told The Times, "We cannot ignore the reality that too many uninsured Californians still don't know they can get financial help to buy brand-name insurance." One stumbling block is that when consumers are online and see the estimated insurance premium, they become disheartened and don't scroll down to see the discounted rate.
You qualify for subsidies if you make less than $47,000 a year for a single adult and $97,000 for a family of four.
In 2016, federal tax penalties for not having health insurance will range from $695 for an individual to up to $2,500 depending on the household income.
In an attempt to make things easier for consumers, online marketplaces allow consumers to shop and compare , measuring one health plan against another in terms of premiums, deductibles, etc.
The key, whether you're enrolling or renewing, is to do your homework—study the plan options and prices, and select what is right for you and your family.