California has always been different compared to the rest of the country. Boasting a population of approximately 39 million people, it’s the most populous state in the nation with large cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. When the Affordable Care Act was signed by Barack Obama back in 2010, all states had to choose between a federal exchange or a state-based marketplace (otherwise known as an exchange). This meant either using HealthCare.gov or creating a unique exchange from scratch.
California opted for the latter, and Covered California was soon developed and has served the population for the last five years.
Therefore, Californian residents cannot go to healthcare.gov to shop around and purchase a plan. Instead, they’re required to visit Covered California.
When Is The Open Enrollment Period?
In California, the 2018 Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on January 31, 2018. This means there are exactly 92 days to purchase a plan. The enrollment period differs from the rest of the country, as Californians have 47 additional days available. This is due to the fact California controls its own exchange, meaning it has the capabilities of deviating from the traditional Open Enrollment Period.
When Can Californians Enroll For Medicare?
Medicare enrollment begins on October 15, 2017 and ends on December 7, 2017, providing individuals with precisely 53 days to enroll.
Medicare is a federal program that essentially provides health insurance to following groups; individuals who are over the age of 65, individuals with certain disabilities (regardless of age), and those with End-Stage Renal Disease (otherwise known as kidney failure or ESRD).
What If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance?
If you’re a state resident and can’t afford to purchase a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment Period, you can always utilize the Medi-Cal program. This is California’s version of Medicaid and CHIP, which is designed basic coverage to impoverished adults and children.
Individuals can enroll at any point throughout the year and you can even apply online through Covered California. Simply fill out the form and answer all the questions to find out if you’re eligible.
It’s important to note that Medi-Cal is funded by the federal government but is fully administered by the state. This is why there are differences when it comes to Medi-Cal/Medicaid coverage throughout each state.
Do You Have Questions?
Are you currently living in California and are thinking about shopping around for a health insurance plan? Do you have questions or concerns regarding this subject? Give us a call at 855-614-5057 and speak to one of our agents today! They’ll be able to explain everything in detail and address all of your queries.