It’s important to understand the specificities of purchasing health care in your state to make sure you’re getting the plan that’s right for you. As programs and processes can vary from state to state, understanding how it works in your home state is key. This is what you need to know about purchasing in California, so you can ensure you’re getting the best health insurance quotes available to you.
California’s Health Ratings and Insurance Rankings
Health insurance rates in California have not always been high, but recent changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been changing that.
America’s Health Rankings placed California at #16, noting some of the state’s biggest challenges were lack of health insurance and disproportionate health status among residents. But, in the past year, people purchasing health insurance within the state has risen by 13%.
California has become known for offering lower rates and more carrier options in comparison to other states. California’s state-run Covered California program is widely regarded as one of the most successful components of ACA. It is currently one of only nine states to have at least three insurers within each county, as many states only have one carrier.
Californian Health Insurance Rates and Carriers in 2017
Unfortunately, health insurance rates will most likely rise within California during 2017, as Covered California announced their plans for a state-wide average increase back in July 2016. With that being said, the previous increases have all been lower than the average pre-ACA annual increase, making this still an excellent time to purchase insurance.
In 2017, 11 carriers will be offering coverage through Covered California, and each county will have at least three options. They include:
- Anthem Blue Cross of California
- Blue Shield of California
- Chinese Community Health Plan (only San Francisco county and San Mateo county)
- Health Net
- Kaiser Permanente
- A. Care Health Plan
- Molina Healthcare
- Oscar Health Plan of California
- Sharp Health Plan (only San Diego county)
- Valley Health Plan (only Santa Clara County)
- Western Health Advantage (only North Bay area and Greater Sacramento)
Affordable Care Act and ObamaCare in California
Unlike some states, California has embraced health care reform. When ACA was signed into law during 2010, California was onboard. California was the first state to have legislators move quickly to pass bills that supported state-based marketplace. In late 2012, they introduced additional legislation to help with the implementation of ACA.
Since the introduction of ObamaCare, they state has instilled Covered California, a state-based exchange system, as well as expanded Medicaid. This has drastically helped reduce the number of uninsured residents, making the state #5 out of the top 10 states to reduce these numbers since 2013. Covered California has helped Californians in various ways, including helping lower prescription medication costs by introducing a cap.
California and Special Programs
Special health insurance programs include Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. California has done wonders to embrace these sorts of programs, which offer federal assistance for those who cannot afford healthcare.
For instance, California greatly embraced Medicaid expansion, opening eligibility to almost all non-senior adults with low incomes in an effort to reduce uninsured rates. They have also striven to improve Medicare. As of 2015, over 5.6 million Californians had Medicare, meaning 14% of the state’s overall population.
Other Health Reform Legislation in California
California has and is taking even further steps to ensure that health care is both affordable and beneficial to its residents. Coming into effect in May 2016, SB4 allows undocumented immigrant children to become eligible for Medi-Cal, according to their household incomes.
Other bills that have been considered and are still relevant include SB10 , which would allow adults over 19 years to enrol in Medi-Cal and, if there incomes don’t qualify, they can instead purchase subsidized health plans through Covered California. Likewise, AB1102 was introduced to allow pregnant women a special enrolment period to ensure they can access health insurance.
Though it’s now inactive in the Senate, it was revised to include provisions for applicants who are rejected coverage and for pregnant women who miss enrolment periods.
California has done wonders to increase the affordability of health insurance within their state. With this knowledge, you can begin to start the process of looking into the best health insurance quotes within California.