Even those who are healthy today benefit from having health insurance. It's impossible to predict whether someone will get sick or have an accident, and with the average cost of a three-day hospital stay priced at $30,000, it doesn't make sense to take the gamble of going without health insurance — particularly if it can be found at an affordable price.
Covered California makes it simple and more affordable for millions of Californians to get quality health insurance, including Medi-Cal, that can't be canceled or denied because of a pre-existing medical condition or if someone gets sick. Covered California offers a range of plans so a consumer can choose the one that best meets their health needs and financial situation, and can be attained easily online, in person or by phone.
If a consumer has health insurance through their job already, coverage will only get better as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law that created health insurance exchanges such as Covered California. And, should someone decide to leave his/her job tomorrow, the Affordable Care Act provides a sense of security and protection when it comes to health coverage.
All newly purchased insurance plans— even those sold outside of Covered California — must cover essential health benefits such as doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency care, maternity care, pediatric care for children, and prescriptions. This legislation also provides sliding-scale financial help, so almost all Americans can get quality health coverage at a fair price.
Open enrollment for Covered California health insurance plans happens once a year. For 2015 coverage, open enrollment ended Feb. 15, 2015. After open enrollment, consumers may enroll in a Covered California health plan only if they have experienced a qualifying life event that makes them eligible for special enrollment. (Medi-Cal enrollees are not limited to a specific enrollment period, because Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round.)
Purchasing health insurance through Covered California has many advantages. Covered California is the only place where an individual can learn about and use federal financial assistance that can help reduce health care costs. Consumers can also learn if they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. This also includes the ability to make true "apples to apples" comparisons of health insurance plans.
Covered California serves Californians by helping to:
- Improve access to quality coverage. More Californians than ever before have easy access to a wide range of private health insurance plans. Millions of Californians who do not have health insurance can benefit from lower-cost coverage. Covered California helps these individuals learn about the health coverage options that best meet their needs. It also helps millions more who are not eligible for financial support, but can still benefit by using the insurance protections that have taken effect under the new health care law.
- Make health coverage affordable. Covered California can help consumers find out if they are eligible for sliding-scale financial assistance that could help reduce health care costs. If income is very limited, consumers may be eligible for free coverage through Medi-Cal. Covered California also helps reduce health care costs for all Californians by reducing the number of uninsured and the burden of uncompensated care that was previously borne by all of those who had insurance.
- Improve the health of all Californians. With health insurance, individuals don't have to wait for small health problems to become big ones. Access to preventive care and a network of health professionals who are trained to keep are available to help consumers stay healthy. Covered California also works to promote prevention and wellness programs that help all Californians.