Health Care Reform and Covered CA: What does this mean for you?

If you’re not living under a rock, you’ve heard about Obamacare and are probably wondering what it means for you and your family. You probably know though, because you’re wicked smart, that ObamaCare is the unofficial name for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare’s health care reform does a number of important things including offering Americans a number of new benefits, rights, and protections in regards to their healthcare and setting up a Health Insurance Marketplace where Americans can purchase Federally regulated and subsidized health insurance.

In California, if you are currently without health insurance from an employer or another government program, you can apply for assistance though tax credits to help pay for your health insurance online at Covered California.


Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace, opened for business on October 1, 2013. The new online exchange, and state agency implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, will provide California residents and small businesses with online tools to compare health plans and enroll in the product that best suits their needs.

These programs are available to individuals and families who make less than a certain amount of money and do not have access to affordable health insurance from an employer or another government program.

  1. Premium assistance through tax credits will help reduce the cost of your insurance premium, which is the amount you pay to buy health insurance each month.
  2. Cost-sharing assistance reduces the amount of health care expenses an individual or family has to pay when getting care. These expenses include copayments, coinsurance and deductibles incurred when, for example, you visit your doctor.

The amount of the tax credit depends on household income and family size of eligible individuals. Below are some examples of potential costs to families in California. Visit the calculator at Covered California and review the exact premium and plan choices so you can know exactly what your insurance will cost.

Household   Size

Annual   Income


Yearly   Cost of Health Insurance (without government subsidy)

Yearly   Federal Government Subsidy

New,   Lower Cost of Health Insurance





$1,200   per year $100 per month





$8,400   per year

$700   per month





$2,100   per year

$175   per month

The credits are only available for health insurance purchased through Covered California and will be paid directly to your private health plan by Covered California.

There will be four basic levels of coverage: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. This will make it easier to compare plans in the same category or across categories. As your coverage increases, so does your monthly premium payment, but your costs are lower when you receive medical care. You can choose to pay a higher monthly premium so that when you need medical care, you pay less. Or you can choose to pay a lower monthly premium, which means that when you need medical care, you pay more. You have the choice.

Covered California Frequently Asked Questions

When can I begin to shop in Covered California?

Covered California began enrollment on Oct. 1, 2013, for coverage that will take effect Jan. 1, 2014. The open-enrollment period for coverage during 2014 runs from Oct. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. If you are eligible for Medi-Cal, the open enrollment period does not matter.

How will Covered California help me buy health care coverage?

If you qualify, the government will provide financial support – called subsidies – to help some people pay for health coverage or care. This support will be determined by a person’s income level and family size.

What if I decide not to buy health care coverage in Covered California?

If you don’t buy coverage and go without it for three months or longer, you’ll be charged a tax penalty by the government. If you lack coverage for a period of fewer than three months, you will not be charged a penalty for that period of time.

What if I have job-based insurance? Does anything change?

If you have coverage from a job (or a family member’s job), you’re considered covered.

You may be able to change to Covered California coverage, but you might not qualify for lower costs on your premiums based on your income. This will depend on the type and cost of insurance the employer provides. Any job-based health plan you currently have qualifies as minimum essential coverage.

Can anyone get health care coverage in Covered California?

Yes, anyone who has legal resident status can get coverage. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to anyone who has a medical condition, and you don’t have to pass a medical exam to qualify for coverage.

How much will I pay for health insurance?

How much you will pay depends on your age, your zip code and the plan you select, and whether or not you qualify for a subsidy. This amount of assistance number is based on your income and family size.

For more information, visit or call the Covered California Service Center at 800.300.1506.

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