Politics Magazine

Press – First Week of Health Care Enrollment Reveals Strong Need for Coverage

Posted on the 10 October 2013 by Jim Winburn @civicbeebuzz

The first week of open enrollment indicated a strong demand for health care coverage statewide, according to a Covered California update on Tuesday.

Covered California received tens of thousands of enrollment applications during the first week consumers could officially apply for health insurance at the agency’s online marketplace, as well as those newly eligible for Medi-Cal coverage.

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“We’ve started strong,” said Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “The amount of interest and number of applications we’ve received in the first week underscores the demand among Californians for quality, affordable health care.”

Covered California released the following website and call center “service volumes” for its Oct. 1-5 report:

– Unique visits to CoveredCA.com – 987,440
– Call volume – 59,003
– Average wait time – 15:08 (Average wait time was reduced to less than four minutes by Friday, Oct. 4)
– Average handling time – 16:48
– Applications – 43,616
– Partially completed – 27,305
– Applications completed with household eligibility determined – 16,311
– Number of Californians determined eligible for coverage – 28,699
– Small Business Health Options Program businesses registered as of Tuesday, Oct. 8 – 430

According to its news release, Covered California’s website, http://www.CoveredCA.com, had 987,440 unique visits for the initial week of operations, reflecting Tuesday through Saturday (Oct. 1-5). Online, 16,311 households completed their eligibility process and were determined eligible for subsidies, Medi-Cal or to enroll in an individual private plan. These household applications contained 28,699 individuals who completed eligibility determination. An additional 27,305 households had partially completed their online application.

“It’s just the beginning, but these numbers are truly exciting and encouraging,” Lee said. “With almost three months to enroll for coverage effective Jan. 1, the fact that thousands of Californians and hundreds of our small businesses are stepping forward in our first week is a testament to the need for the Affordable Care Act,” said Peter Lee.

Subsequent weekly statistics will be based on a Sunday-through-Saturday schedule. Total enrollment for October will be released in November.

“Covered California is committed to sharing information and will continue to report weekly on the numbers of visits to our website and the number of consumer calls to our Service Centers,” Lee said.

* * *

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature.

As the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Covered California was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans.

With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that will be available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget.

Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.

For more information on Covered California, please visit http://www.CoveredCA.com.



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