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Covered California Enrollment Strong Among Young Adults, Weak Among Spanish-Speakers

Above: Covered California enrollment from Oct. 1 to Nov. 19.

The state's insurance exchange, Covered California, has enrolled 79,891 Californians in new insurance policies since Oct. 1, with 18,000 signing up last week.

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Executive director Peter V. Lee offered a snapshot Thursday of who's enrolling. He says 18- to 34-year-olds are signing up at a rate in line with their proportion of the population.

"That's very good news," Lee said at a Covered California board meeting. "We want to get everyone insured. Our sustainability over the long term is about having a good risk mix."

Consumers younger than 35 make up nearly 30 percent of those with Covered California plans. The rate for children is low — 5 percent — because families with kids are more likely to be eligible for Medi-Cal.

Credit: Covered California

October Covered California enrollment by age.

Lee said those families, as well as individuals newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, are also benefitting from Covered California. The exchange offers Medi-Cal enrollment to those who discover they're eligible on the site.

Lee says 140,000 Californians have enrolled in Medi-Cal through the exchange so far. He says, in total, California has 1 million residents signed up to gain Medi-Cal coverage Jan. 1. Many are already in Low Income Health Programs — transitional coverage designed to jumpstart the Medicaid expansion. They'll automatically roll over to Medi-Cal next year.

Lee noted one area for improvement: enrolling non-English speakers. Just 3.2 percent of enrollees are Spanish speakers. Lee says that number should increase as more community groups are trained to help with in-person enrollment.

Credit: Covered California

October Covered California enrollment by language.

Californians have until March 31 to sign up for health insurance through Covered California. The deadline for coverage that starts Jan. 1 is Dec. 15.

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