Covered California, the state’s primary health insurance marketplace, announced that healthcare benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would now expand to middle-income earners. In January 2020, Covered California will start subsidizing insurance premiums to those who are between 400% and 600% of the poverty line.
Originally, only those below 400% of the state’s poverty line were eligible for the benefits provided by the ACA. Now, middle-income earners would soon receive the same benefits and those who don’t opt-in for insurance would be penalized.
The open enrollment is offered across the state, ending by January 31st. To those who would want to receive the benefits at the start of the year 2020, signing up for insurance by December 15th would be required. These rules are only for individuals who don’t have employer-based health insurance yet.
According to James Scullary, the California Covered spokesperson, all residents must check if the new rules apply to them. He also said that the state officials wanted to ensure that people were informed about the money that’s available to cut down their health costs.
Moreover, California brought the penalties back for uninsured individuals — a feature in the Obamacare law that was dropped two years ago. Those who won’t get private health insurance through California Covered would see fines added to their taxes by the spring of 2021. In turn, the restored penalty caused healthcare companies to lower their rates.
Humboldt County, on the other hand, has growing healthcare issues — their health insurance premiums are higher than in all the other areas in California. In addition, private medical practices are vanishing and the residents in this rural area tend to be less healthy. To address such issues, the county’s Department of Health and Human Services said that their doors are open to those who need help signing up for the California Covered program.
Scullary also stated that through the ACA individuals can have 80% of their monthly premiums covered. Even though the premium costs vary from one person to another, 80% remains a huge saving grace. He added that the state wants to cover as many patients as possible but major undertakings such as this would take time.