Half a million Californians completed the enrollment process to buy private insurance through Covered California between Oct. 1 and the end of 2013, putting the new health care exchange on track to reach its goals by the end of the open enrollment period in March, officials said.
About 400,000 of those people were eligible for subsidies to reduce the price of their coverage through the federal Affordable Care Act.
In addition 584,000 applicants were found to be eligible for Medi-Cal, the state and federal health program for the poor. And the state transitioned 630,000 people into Medi-Cal from county-run low-income health plans that were created with start-up money from the federal government.
That mean that in all, more than 1.7 million people appear to be receiving health coverage in California so far under the ACA, President Obama’s landmark and controversial health reform.
“We are pleased that Californians — many for the first time — are getting quality, affordable health insurance to protect themselves and their families,” said Peter Lee, Covered California’s executive director.
The agency also released demographic figures for those who have enrolled in private coverage. They showed that while the population is still heavily weighted toward older people, those between the ages of 18 to 34 represented 25 percent of the enrollees. That’s the same as their proportion in the population, but officials said that age group represents about 36 percent of those eligible for subsidies, so they continue to be underrepresented in the insurance pool.
That’s important because young people, particularly healthy young people, are need to join the system in large numbers so that their premiums help offset the cost of caring for older, sicker people.