Commissioner Lara Urges Uninsured Californians to Obtain Insurance to Protect Their Health

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Covered California extends special enrollment period through June 30th in response to COVID-19 – including premium subsidies to assist eligible consumers.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara urged uninsured Californians and those who have lost coverage due to COVID-19 to purchase health coverage through Covered California, or through health plans and health insurers offering coverage outside the health insurance benefits exchange, during a new special enrollment period. Effective Friday, March 20, Covered California opened the state’s health insurance benefits exchange to eligible uninsured individuals who need health care coverage amid the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. Anyone who meets eligibility requirements, which are similar to those in place during the annual open enrollment period, can sign up for coverage through June 30, 2020.

“Getting coverage for yourself and your family has never been more vital,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Californians need to plan for the long term, and having insurance at this time can give you peace of mind.”  

On March 5, Governor Gavin Newsom and Commissioner Lara directed health insurance companies to make all medically necessary COVID-19 screening and testing free of charge by eliminating co-pays and deductibles. 

This includes network telehealth or, when necessary, doctor’s office visits as well as network emergency room or urgent care when necessary for the purpose of screening and testing for COVID-19. In addition, Covered California health plans and health insurers will help cover costs that arise from any required treatment or hospitalization. 

All health coverage offered through Covered California provides telehealth options for enrollees, giving individuals the ability to connect with a health care professional by phone or video without having to personally visit a doctor’s office or hospital. 

Consumers who sign up through Covered California by June 30, 2020 will have access to private health coverage plans with monthly premiums that may be lowered due to federal and new state financial help that became effective in 2020. When enrolling in Covered California, their coverage would begin on the first of the following month meaning individuals losing job-based coverage will not face a “gap” in coverage.

Consumers can easily find out if they are eligible for financial help and see which plans are available in their area by using Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool and entering their ZIP code, household income, and the ages of those who need coverage. The tool also helps those with no or low income see if they qualify for Medi-Cal. Those interested in learning more about their coverage options can: 

  • Visit www.CoveredCA.com.
  • Get free and confidential assistance over the phone, in a variety of languages, from a certified enroller.
  • Have a certified enroller call them and help them for free.
  • Call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.

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