Capitol Alert

California health exchange notches more sign-ups

Peter Lee, second left, the executive director of Covered California, poses with enrollees in the state-run health insurance exchange, in front of Los Angeles City Hall last month.
Peter Lee, second left, the executive director of Covered California, poses with enrollees in the state-run health insurance exchange, in front of Los Angeles City Hall last month. NYT

Nearly 50,000 Californians have signed up for private health insurance plans offered through the state’s exchange, officials said Wednesday.

Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said about 130,000 have been deemed eligible for coverage or selected plans from Nov. 15 to Dec. 3. The numbers compare favorably with last year, when about 31,000 people selected a plan during the first month of open enrollment, Lee said.

“We are seeing rates of enrollment that far exceed those we saw last year,” he said.

Californians who want their coverage to become effective at the start of 2015 must enroll by Dec. 15. The exchange, working with thousands of insurance agents, is launching more than 40 enrollment events, such as a 5K reindeer run, and expanding its marketing efforts.

“We expect the next days and this weekend we’ll see continued and even growing interest in enrollment,” Lee said.

Officials also are distributing fact sheets reiterating that customers’ personal information, such as immigration status, is not shared with immigration authorities.

The second open enrollment period of the federal health care overhaul runs through Feb. 15. The state exchange estimates that 1.7 million people will be enrolled by the end of the second year. That includes 1.5 million in subsidized coverage.

Separately, state officials said 160,000 Californians have enrolled in Medi-Cal via the exchange. About three quarters are in coverage and the remaining quarter are going though the final determination process.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago

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