Nearly 870,000 Californians have signed up through Covered California as of March 1st. That’s hundreds of thousands more people than in any other state.
Anne Gonzales of Covered California says the state-run website has had its share of technical problems, but for the most part it’s worked better than the portals elsewhere.
“There was huge interest for this type of coverage," Gonzales says. "A lot of people have been waiting for affordable health care.”
Gonzales says outreach to ethnic communities and increased call center staffing have helped with the sign up effort.
The Kaiser Family Foundation says California has received more federal money than any other state to establish a marketplace.
Covered California will release its own updated numbers on Thursday.
In 22 Northern California counties, some health insurance customers have only one choice of insurer in Covered California. We go to a rural community north of Quincy to find out what that's like.
Blue Shield of California stopped selling policies to individuals in 250 zip codes in 2014. The coverage area reduction is especially felt in Northern California, where consumers have few choices through Covered California.
Anthem Blue Cross, the largest insurer in Covered California's Northern California region, ended an out-of-state benefit for individual planholders this year. Blue Shield of California plans in the region also restrict care to within state lines.
The open enrollment period for Covered California began less than a month ago. But the pace of applications and enrollments has already exceeded last year.
California offers several services for both documented and undocumented immigrants. But fears about deportation deter many people from taking advantage of the benefits offered to them.