Health & Medicine

Despite Obamacare uncertainty, Covered California signs up 412,000 new enrollees

Covered California officials said more than 412,000 consumers signed up for 2017 health care coverage to begin March 1. More than a third - about 37 percent - were young adults, ages 18 to 34, which could help keep premium prices in check.
Covered California officials said more than 412,000 consumers signed up for 2017 health care coverage to begin March 1. More than a third - about 37 percent - were young adults, ages 18 to 34, which could help keep premium prices in check. lsterling@sacbee.com

Buoyed by a last-minute influx of new enrollees, Covered California officials said Monday they signed up more than 412,000 new consumers for health care coverage, starting March 1.

About 50,000 signed up in the last two days of open enrollment, which ended Jan. 31, according to Covered California. Young adults – ages 18 to 34 – accounted for more than a third of enrollments, which officials say will help keep overall premium costs down.

This year, young adults accounted for about 37 percent of new Covered California enrollments, compared with 29 percent in 2014.

Covered California is enrolling large numbers of consumers “with a good mix of younger and older, which helps keep rates down for everyone and keeps the entire individual market stable,” Covered California Director Peter Lee said in a statement.

Although the number of 2017 renewals by existing consumers won’t be available until March, Covered California expects the total number of sign-ups will hover around 1.5 million.

This year’s sign-ups came amid continuing uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s plans to eliminate the nation’s Affordable Care Act, now in its fourth year. As yet, no replacement plan has been announced.

Although this year’s open enrollment period is over until next fall, those qualifying for Medi-Cal coverage can apply any time. Also, Californians who experience a significant change in life circumstances – losing a job, having a baby, moving – have 60 days to complete a new enrollment application.

Claudia Buck: 916-321-1968, @Claudia_Buck

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