SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California™ and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) announced today that from Oct. 1, 2013, to Jan. 31, 2014, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 51,524 consumers in nine Central Valley counties enrolled in subsidized and non-subsidized Covered California health insurance plans. The new total represents a 56 percent increase from the 33,133 enrollments recorded through Dec. 31, 2013.
The Central Valley counties of San Joaquin, Kern, Stanislaus, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Madera represent about 7 percent of the statewide enrollment thus far. The local total includes 46,908 consumers eligible for financial subsidies. These counties encompass Covered California pricing regions 10, 11 and 14.
The improving pace of enrollments in the Central Valley is due in part to enhanced aspects of Covered California’s customer service. The agency has increased staff to answer consumer calls, added phone lines, improved its website efficiency, expanded its live Web chat function and upgraded its Spanish-language Web pages.
Covered California recently launched a targeted, grassroots, on-the-ground strategy in collaboration with its community partners to create face-to-face opportunities for enrollment, particularly in Latino communities in the Central Valley and the San Joaquin Valley (Stockton/Modesto and Fresno/Bakersfield).
Since December, the exchange has nearly doubled its advertising campaign targeting Spanish- and English-speaking Latinos, improved its Spanish-language website and informational materials, and increased the number of bilingual Certified Enrollment Counselors and Service Center representatives.
Nearly 1 Million Statewide
In late breaking numbers Covered California officials announced that as of March 9 that almost one million Californians have signed up for health insurance through the new exchange, far exceeding estimates.
“We are at more than 920,000 Californians who have picked a plan through the health benefit exchange,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said. “That has more than exceeded our base estimate.”
The original “enhanced scenario” estimate by UC-Berkeley researchers — if everything went optimally well during the first six-month enrollment period — was 560,000 signups. Exchange officials yesterday said 923,832 people have enrolled as of March 9.