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Covered California Q&A

Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

September 2019 Archives

Will I Get a Subsidy in 2020?

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Question: I hear Covered California is providing state subsidies for people with higher incomes than before. Hoe can I find out if I’ll get a subsidy in 2020?

Answer: That’s true. In California, the upper income thresholds have been extended to 600% of the Federal Poverty Level for 2020. Use the new Subsidy Estimator to get a quick answer.

When Can I Find Out My 2020 Rates?

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Question: I read that Covered California health insurance rates will be about the same for 2020. When can I check my actual rates?

Answer The Open Enrollment Period for 2020 starts on October 15th. At that time you can check your renewal rates or apply for coverage for the first time if you were not previously qualified.

Question: In my area, Covered California only offers one insurance company. I would like to have another health provider. Can I register in another county where they have a choice?

Answer: You should have a choice of carriers next year. Covered California says, “More than 99% of Californians will be able to choose from two carriers or more for insurance in 2020”. That’s because three of the eleven insurers participating in the Covered California exchange, including giant Anthem, will expand their footprint in the state.

Question: As minimum wages increase it puts me in a different wage bracket. Is there going to be a adjustment with Covered CA as wages increase? So many things are going up right along with the wage increase in which I am paying out more and saving less.

Answer: The increase in minimum wage in California for 2020 is $1.00 per hour. Assuming you work a full 40 hours for 50 weeks next year, your annual income will increase by $2,000. Your share of the cost for your insurance premium will go up by about $25 per month if you are a single taxpayer or less if you have dependents.

Question: I've sponsored my parents for green card through my citizenship. They receive total $3,000 per month for retirement from their native country. They are both 65 and over. I understand there is a 5 years waiting period for Medicare. Would I be able to purchase Covered by California for their health insurance needs?

Answer: Provided they are legal residents of California, immigrants are eligible to apply for health insurance coverage through Covered California regardless of age. They may also be eligible for premium assistance based on their taxable income.

Question: I get a subsidy but I still have to pay about $100 a month. How much will it go up next year.

Answer: Your share of the cost may not go up at all. If you are one of the lucky ones, it could even come down. Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange, announced some good news a few weeks ago. They said average premiums would rise an average of 0.8% for 2020, the lowest annual increase in its history. In some regions, rates would increase even less or fall. Customers who shop around when enrollment for 2020 plans opens October 15 could reduce their premiums by as much as 16.5%, depending on where they live.

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