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Obamacare California

Updated on September 22, 2017

You Can Use the Form Below To Get Actual Updated Price Estimates For 2017 California Obamacare Plans

California is one of the few states that chose to create and maintain its own individual marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Their program is called Covered California. Residents here can use it to shop for coverage, or they can use an independent agent, broker site or company to enroll directly while still taking advantage of cost-saving measures under the law.

Requirement by Law

Despite the political upheaval this year over healthcare reform, it’s important to note that Obamacare’s individual mandate is still in effect. The IRS has stated that it will be enforcing the mandate as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, all eligible Americans – which represents much of the country – must hold qualifying health insurance or face a penalty fee. For this year, the fee is the greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or a flat fee of $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18). The fee increases with inflation each year.

Enrollment in California

During the 2017 open enrollment period, 1,556,676 people signed up for health insurance using the exchange, compared to 1,575,340 last year. The shift downward in enrollment can be contributed to several factors, including uncertainty over the current administration’s stance on healthcare reform and rising premium costs.

While residents of the Golden State can enroll in a qualifying health plan via Covered California, it may be beneficial to shop around using a comparison site like this one. Getting current quotes from multiple carriers can help you find a plan that adequately addresses your needs and fits your budget. Brokers can also help explain your options more clearly.

In 2018, California customers will be able to choose from 11 carriers on the exchange, the same number they had this year:

  • Anthem Blue Cross of California
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Chinese Community Health Plan
  • Health Net
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • L.A. Care Health Plan
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Oscar Health
  • Plan of California
  • Sharp Health Plan
  • Valley Health Plan
  • Western Health Advantage

Kaiser, Blue Shield and Anthem make up the majority of the market. On average, California exchange customers can expect to see premium rates increase by about 12.5 percent. In California, all plans in each metal tier are standardized, except for HSA-eligible plans, which have their own standardization guidelines in the state.

Cost Assistance

For lower- and middle-income families and individuals – those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. Using Covered California, residents get help via a sliding scale that is unique to the state’s own exchange. For more information about federal financial assistance, start the enrollment process today.

Open enrollment is different for people in state-based exchanges because these states have some flexibility in setting enrollment periods. For 2018, the open enrollment period in California will run from November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018. Those who want coverage starting on January 1 will need to enroll by December 15.

 Your Contact Information Is Confidential

California is one of very few states that actually has more than 4 carriers participating within the exchange. Compare what your options are, in some counties within CA there are new carriers offering very competitive plans.

The state of California currently has a state-run health exchange, where you can get quotes direct. As a basis for comparison, we encourage you to get quotes directly from other insurance companies. You should have health insurance quotes from current providers, as a base for comparison. This ensures that you have a better range of plans, information and overall access to affordable healthcare benefits.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been implemented in stages since it was signed into law in 2010, and on October 1, 2013, the health insurance exchange portion of the program came online in California and in many other states. Covered California is the name of the exchange that will serve the residents of California for the 2016 Open Enrollment Period, which starts on November 15, 2015, and ends on January 31, 2016.

Widely known as Obamacare, the ACA requires Americans to have at least a minimum level of health insurance. Those who refuse to participate in the ACA will have to pay a penalty; however, exemptions will be extended to the many federally recognized American Indian tribes that exist in California, and also for a number of personal reasons.

The health exchange marketplace that comprises Covered California will give residents the opportunity to shop for insurance plans that are federally regulated. Assistance will also be available from the federal government, in the form of tax credits and premium subsidies, to help in the purchase of these plans. Subsidies will extend to household incomes that are 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and tax credits are available to people who enroll in a silver-level plan and who make less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Additional assistance in the form of tax credits will also extend to businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees. Plans available from Covered California will incorporate requirements of the federal law, which include numerous rights and protections for the customers.

A major part of the ACA is an expansion of the federal healthcare program Medicaid, which, in California, is known as Medi-Cal. Residents of California with incomes that are equivalent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is around $16,243 for an individual and slightly above $33,465 for a family of four, will be eligible for Medi-Cal. The actual eligibility requirement under the expanded requirements for Medicaid is technically 133 percent of the federal poverty level; however, due to the way that the income is calculated, it actually permits people who make less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level to participate.

Open enrollment in Covered California will continue through January 31, 2016, and plans obtained before December 15 of this year will become effective on January 1, 2016. Residents with questions should call (800) 300-1506 or visit the Covered California website at