The state-sponsored health plan sign-ups have sharply spiked over the last three weeks.
Covered California enrollment has spiked sharply as more than 58,000 state residents have signed up over the last three weeks. This represents a rise of almost three times the number of people enrolled when compared to the same time in 2019.
Officials gave state residents an extension on the sign-up period to help with coverage in the outbreak.
The Covered California enrollment period was extended from January to June. The purpose was to make it possible for far more people across the state to be able to sign up for coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the extension, an additional 58,400 people have applied for state subsidized health plans from private insurance companies or have qualified for the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.
The state is also working on its regulations to make it easier for people who are already covered by Medi-Cal to be able to maintain that coverage. The Department of Health Care Services typically requires beneficiaries of this program – of which there are currently about 13 million – to provide proof that they continue to require this coverage. This can be a burdensome process for those beneficiaries and can pile the work onto employees who must then verify the documentation sent from hundreds of thousands of households every month.
In addition to the extended Covered California enrollment period, Medi-Cal verification has also been suspended.
Department of Health Care Services director Dr. Bradley Gilbert stated that the agency has implemented a 90-day suspension of the requirement to prove the ongoing need for the coverage.
“No one will be removed from their eligibility, which, as you can imagine right now, is so critical to keep people having their medical coverage. And it allows the county workers who do the eligibility to focus on new applications,” said Gilbert. He took his position only days after the state confirmed its first cases of COVID-19.
The Department of Health Care Services is also broadening its access to telehealth services to include Medi-Cal patients. The goal is to make it possible for low-income state residents to access medical care from the safety of their homes whenever possible.
The Covered California enrollment, keeping people covered by Medi-Cal and providing increased telehealth services access are meant to help keep people covered and home throughout the outbreak.