Covered California Joins Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA to Encourage Consumers to Enroll and Get Covered in 2021

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Photo: Covered California logo. (www.coveredca.com)
  • Covered California holds a briefing with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA to update Asian American media on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, and encourage everyone to sign up for health care coverage before the Jan. 31 deadline.
  • Nearly 1.6 million Californians have renewed their coverage or enrolled for the first time for 2021 coverage, which is nearly 200,000 higher than the same time period last year. 
  • More than 312,000 of the 1.6 million members identified as Asian – about a 35,000 increase from last year.  However, many eligible Asian Americans, especially lower-income individuals and those from communities who have been hit hardest by the pandemic, remain uninsured.
  • Of the 2.7 million uninsured Californians, an estimated 1.2 million are uninsured right now, even though they are eligible for financial help from Covered California, or low-cost or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA hosted a briefing for Asian American media on Tuesday, as part of its ongoing efforts to reach the state’s diverse population. The briefing provided the latest Covered California enrollment data, information on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, as well as the importance of having quality health care coverage to protect consumers if they get sick or injured.

“Despite the recent good news about COVID-19 cases and lifting of restrictions, the pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on all our lives, especially in communities of color. Covered California wants to make sure everyone understands their health care options during this critical time,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We know there are more than 1.2 million Californians who are uninsured right now, including nearly 90,000 Asian Americans, even though they are eligible to receive financial assistance through Covered California or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.”

The latest data from the state’s COVID-19 tracking website, more than 3.1 million Californians have been infected with the virus, resulting in 37,118 deaths. While California’s Asian community accounts for a relatively low infection rate of 6.6 percent, the death rate is nearly double that amount at 11.6 percent.

“While the availability of the vaccine is reason for hope, until it becomes widely available we must remain vigilant and prepared,” Lee said. “We are asking everyone in the state to get covered, not only with a mask to protect themselves and their family, but with a quality health insurance plan in case they get sick or injured.”

Click here for a downloadable video of today’s event, which includes comments from:

  • Peter Lee on the extended deadline, importance of health insurance and the financial help available through Covered California.
  • Julia Chaw-Chih Lee, an Adult/Geriatrics Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chinatown Service Center – LA, who discusses what she’s seeing in regard to the impact of the virus and shares advice for Californians.
  • Sarah Malik, a Covered California member who shares her personal story of how she was able to get lifesaving, high quality healthcare for her preexisting health condition through Covered California.

Consumers who sign up by Jan. 31 will need to pay their first bill in order to have their coverage take effect on Feb. 1. 

“Most of the people who are uninsured either do not know they are eligible for financial assistance, or they have not checked recently to see how affordable quality coverage can be,” Lee said. “Together with our great partners across the state like AAAJ – LA, we’re working to make sure we reach the diverse Asian American community in California to make sure they have the information and assistance available to get health insurance during this pandemic.”

An estimated 1.2 million uninsured people in the state are either eligible for financial help through Covered California, or they qualify for low-cost or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal. Of those eligible for subsidies, 90,000 are believed to be Asian.

Financial Help Lowers Costs for Consumers

Roughly nine out of every 10 consumers who enroll through Covered California receive financial assistance — in the form of federal tax credits, state subsidies, or both — which helps make health care more affordable. California’s state subsidies, which first became available in 2020, are benefiting nearly 600,000 consumers — including more than 41,000 middle-income consumers who had previously been ineligible for financial help because they exceeded the federal income requirements. 

The latest data shows that, with the combination of federal tax credits and state subsidies, the average consumer receiving financial help paid an average of $127 per month for their coverage (with federal and state assistance reducing their costs by $454 or nearly 80 percent).

The state subsidies are only available to eligible consumers through Covered California. The amount of financial help consumers receive will vary depending on their age, their annual household income and the cost of health care in their region.

Shop and Compare

Those interested in applying for coverage can explore their options and find out whether they are eligible for financial help in just a few minutes by using the 

Shop and Compare Tool at CoveredCA.com. All they need to do is enter their ZIP code, household income and the ages of those who need coverage to find out which plans are available in their area. 

Covered California has already begun to see high call volumes and is encouraging consumers to act now and not wait until the end of the month to sign up.

“Do not wait until the last minute without checking your options,” Lee said. “In only a few minutes at CoveredCA.com, you can see which plans are available in your area and whether you qualify for financial help to bring the price of coverage within reach.”

Getting Help Enrolling

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options can:

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s health insurance marketplace, where Californians can find affordable, high-quality insurance from top insurance companies. Covered California is the only place where individuals who qualify can get financial assistance on a sliding scale to reduce premium costs. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Depending on their income, some consumers may qualify for the low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal program.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the health insurance marketplace work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.

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