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Agents: More Insurance Options Outside Covered California, But No Subsidies

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Health insurance agents give advice to consumers at a sign-up event March 31, 2014.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

The California Association of Health Underwriters says you could look in the broader health insurance marketplace if you haven't found the right plan.

Neil Crosby of the Association says there are more insurance carriers outside of the exchange, and there may be different provider networks and benefits, too.

 “Some of the health plans choose not to participate in the exchange in California and across the country, and Covered California also wanted to limit the insurance plans they offered,” says Crosby.

Crosby says you can only get government subsidies through Covered California, but there's no reason to shop in the exchange.

“If their income isn’t low enough to where they qualify for a subsidy, there really isn’t much reason for them to go into Covered California when there’s more plans and more options and more companies available off-exchange,” he says.

You can use an insurance agent at no charge - but not all agents may know about all the available plans.


Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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