Covered California Reveals 2018 Rates and Options
Source: Covered California
Covered California announced its proposed rates for 2018 earlier this month and once again urged consumers to explore their options to find the best deal among companies competing in its individual marketplace.
“Covered California’s competitive market means consumers have the power to shop and find the best value,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We know our consumers often look for the best deal and thus end up paying less than the initial rates suggest.”
Despite failed political efforts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the nation’s capital, Covered California announced that all 11 of its participating health insurance companies will be returning next year.
While premiums will increase an average 12.5 percent statewide, consumers can reduce that amount to less than a 3.3 percent increase, if they shop for the best value and switch to the lowest-priced plan in the same metal tier.
In addition to shopping, most of the 1.4 million consumers enrolled through Covered California will not have to pay the entire rate change because the amount of financial help they receive from the federal government will also increase, Lee said. The federal subsidy is tied to the price of the second-lowest-cost Silver plan and as rates rise or fall, so does the subsidy, which will help offset a significant portion of the rate changes for consumers.
The rate change varies by health plan and region, with some plans having decreases in their premiums and others having increases, which makes shopping more important than ever.
The Affordable Care Act has worked in California – as evidenced by the uninsured rate in California falling to 7.1% in 2016, down from 17% in 2013 – and will continue to work in 2018.
“Covered California remains robust and strong, and we are pleased to welcome back all 11 plans to compete in regions across the state,” Lee said. “Consumers who need affordable health insurance will continue to have good choices in Covered California next year.”
In 2018, 82 percent of Covered California consumers will be able to choose from three or more health insurance companies. In addition, 88 percent of hospitals in California will be available through at least one Covered California health insurance company in 2018.
Covered California has served more than 3 million consumers since it began offering coverage in 2014, introducing a new generation to health care and providing a critical safety net for those who need help paying for their coverage.
Covered California requires all 11 health plans offer identical patient-centered benefit designs, maximizing their impact on consumers and providers’ practices while minimizing the confusion for consumers and providers that all too often results in there being a range of different copays or coverage terms. These priorities align benefit design with the goal of supporting patients in getting the right care at the right time.
Covered California’s 2018 Rate Booklet can be found here. For more information, consumers should visit CoveredCA.com, where they can enroll online during the special-enrollment period or get information about obtaining free, confidential in-person assistance in a variety of languages. They can find a certified enroller at a storefront in their area or have a certified enroller contact them through the “Help on Demand” feature. Consumers can also enroll over the phone by calling Covered California at (800) 300-1506.
(Editor's Note: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties are offered Blue Shield PPO, Blue Shield HMO, and Kaiser Permanente HMO. See a bigger map here.)