360,000 Newly Insured and Growing

During November, about 2700 people have enrolled in California’s online health exchange each day, according to an article published in the New York Times.* This is up from about 700 per day during October. This brings the total online enrollment to about 80,000.

When Medi-Cal applications are taken into account, more than 10,000 applications for health insurance coverage are being submitted in California each day. About 360,000 total applications have been submitted since October 1, 2013.

Authorities were surprised to find that young people (ages 18-34) and high-income earners who do not qualify for health care insurance subsidies make up a higher percentage of enrollees than anticipated. Young healthy people are considered essential to the success of the health care exchanges because their lower health costs are expected to offset expenses for people with serious medical conditions. This age group, who are 21 percent of all Californians, made up 22.5 percent of the nearly 31,000 Californians who signed up for a private health plan in October.

According to Young Invincibles, a health care advocacy group for young people, 31 percent of the people in this age group in California lack health insurance.

Californians who do not qualify for subsidies because they earn too much enrolled through the exchange in far higher numbers than others, by a margin of more than 5:1. Experts believe many of these people may be subscribers whose policies were canceled and found better policies on the exchange.

*Katie Thomas and Andrew Pollack, “California Encouraged by Health Plan Enrollment,” New York Times (Nov. 21, 2013).