If the stopgap measures put into place for the pandemic are allowed to expire, coverage levels could fall.
Millions of Californians are currently facing the risk of losing their California health insurance this year if the federal measures established during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis are allowed to expire this year.
The American Rescue Plan and other assistance made coverage particularly affordable.
The increased assistance from the American Rescue Plan made it possible for two of every three Californians enrolled in Covered California health insurance plans to gain access to coverage for $10 or less in monthly premiums. At the close of the most recent open enrollment period, the exchange reported a record 1.8 million people were enrolled. This was a substantial increase over the 1.6 million people who were enrolled at the same time the year before.
“The law lowered premiums and boosted enrollment — with the biggest beneficiaries being communities of color, lower-income Americans and many in the middle class who got help paying for their coverage for the first time,” explained Covered California executive director Peter V. Lee. “In the absence of federal action to extend these policies this year, people in California and across the country will have their access to health coverage and care dramatically reduced.”
Even residents in middle-income households saw a reduction in California health insurance premiums.
Residents in the middle-income bracket experienced a reduction in their plan premiums by hundreds of dollars due to the push made by the Biden Administration to ensure that every American would be covered in case they were to contract COVID-19. That said, this additional federal assistance is set to expire at the end of the year.
Also affected will be Americans reliant on Medi-Cal for their coverage. The additional assistance for those residents will no longer be available after this year if the pandemic relief measure expires, which it is expected to do partway through April.
Congress had required states to offer residents “continuous coverage” for Medicaid beneficiaries as a part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The California health insurance version of that required coverage is Medi-Cal.