Covered CA March Board Meeting: 1 Million Enrolled

March 21, 2014

Covered California Board meetings have been fairly low key lately, focusing on enrollment updates in lieu of policy decisions. The big news to brag about from this month: more than 1 million people have enrolled in Covered California plans, as of March 14. Nationally, more than 5 million people have enrolled in the Exchanges. What a motivator deadlines can be.

Here are some updates from Executive Director Peter V. Lee:


More than 85% of enrollees have paid premiums. Even if assumed that the remaining 15% never activate coverage, the state has already exceeded the enhanced enrollment projections for 2014.

Enrollment in standalone children’s dental plans increased from 27% of kids through the end of 2013 to 36% of enrolled children.

More applicants report finding the enrollment process difficult compared to early enrollees – likely because more of those now enrolling have never purchased insurance before or have been insured at all.

Latino enrollment has nearly doubled from 18% of enrollees through 2013, to 32% of enrollments so far in March.

All applicants are being mailed information on voter registration.

We also have our first look at the demographics of Medi-Cal enrollees, who are very diverse.

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SHOP has enrolled 850 groups covering 5,600 lives, despite facing technical difficulties. Covered California is looking to make significant improvements to the small business programs – CalHEERS will no longer be used for SHOP enrollment, and Pinnacle is taking over all administrative duties.

Health Plans

Qualified Health Plans will be subject to several new requirements in the coming year. Carriers will need to beef up customer service to improve response times and quality. Starting next year, all carriers will have to maintain the same plan names for identical products on and off the Exchange, to prevent confusion among consumers. In 2016, the board will consider adopting focus-group tested naming for plans sold both inside and outside of the exchange.

Certified Enrollment Counselors

The long awaited CEC payments for Covered California enrollments have begun. Payment for Medi-Cal enrollments is coming in the next few months, pending contract negotiations with the Department of Health Care Services. The state is also up to over 5,000 approved CECs.

Plan Year 2015

2015 will be a year of stability – no newcomers to the plan offerings (with the exception of Medi-Cal managed care plans and newly available private plans) and no big changes to the benefit design (except for slightly smaller generic drug copays and out-of-pocket maximums and an embedded dental offering for children).

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The full meeting materials are available of the HBEX website.