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California Takes Proactive Steps to Ensure Affordable and Accessible Coverage Despite Federal Confusion

California Takes Proactive Steps to Ensure Affordable and Accessible Coverage Despite Federal Confusion

Tomorrow kicks-off the fifth year of open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In past years, the beginning of open enrollment coincided with a groundswell of digital, TV, radio, and in-person outreach. Instead, a few weeks ago the Trump administration announced a 90 percent cut in funds for open enrollment advertising and a 40 percent cut in grants for navigators who provide in-person enrollment assistance. We know that applying and selecting a health plan is a big decision for people. And this year—with all the attempts to repeal the ACA, cuts to subsidies paid to insurers, shorter enrollment period in many states, and the many insurers that have left ACA exchanges—the confusion is at an all-time high. CPEHN has created a fact sheet with some frequently asked questions that we've heard. Check it out here!

From the past four years we know that outreach and in-person assistance is important, particularly for communities of color. For example, Covered California estimates that a whopping 96 percent of Californians know about Covered California, but only 26 percent believe correctly that they are eligible for subsidies. The research also shows that individuals who expect to be eligible for subsidies are twice as likely to enroll in coverage. In addition, Enroll America found that African American and Latino individuals are 43 percent more likely to seek in-person assistance for enrollment than white individuals. Nationwide, the administration’s cuts to outreach and enrollment assistance will discourage communities of color from getting the coverage they earned and will further destabilize the ACA markets in many states. 

Thankfully, state officials in California anticipated many of the changes the Trump administration would make to discourage enrollment and took proactive steps. As Californians turn tomorrow to start shopping and enrolling, here are a few key points to remember:   

  • The open enrollment period for Covered California begins Nov. 1, 2017 and ends Jan. 31, 2018.
  • If you qualified for subsidies previously you likely will still qualify. In fact, most consumers who receive cost-sharing subsidies will not see a change in what they pay for their insurance, and many may see the amount they pay toward their premium go down. 
  • Despite current efforts to spread confusion and doubt about the future of health care, the ACA remains the law of the land and Covered California will continue to provide assistance and coverage in 2018
  • Despite the federal cuts to outreach, there are still a variety of ways to get information and assistance here in California. To find free in-person assistance call (800) 300-1506 or visit and click “Find Help.”

Resources for non-English speakers:

Arabic: 1-800-826-6317

Armenian: 1-800-996-1009

Chinese: 1-800-300-1533

Farsi: 1-800-921-8879

Hmong: 1-800-771-2156

Khmer: 1-800-906-8528

Korean: 1-800-738-9116

Lao: 1-800-357-7976 

Russian: 1-800-778-7695

Spanish: 1-800-300-0213

Tagalog: 1-800-983-8816

Vietnamese: 1-800-652-9528 

Marketing efforts by Covered California: Covered California has several marketing efforts planned around the new open enrollment period. The open enrollment bus tour will run from November 1-7, 2017 throughout six regions in California to promote the need to get covered.

And let’s work together to get the facts out! Feel free to share CPEHN’s FAQ on 2018 Open Enrollment in California to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions this year. 

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