Ten years ago, Covered California started to enroll people to its wide variety of health insurance options. Called a “market of health insurance,” its originality resides in the chance to shop for the best health coverage possible—in some cases, with a low premium to pay. All in a single place.
Covered California is the state version of so-called Obamacare, which is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010 by then president Barack Obama.
The ACA has three basic goals: make affordable health insurance available to more people, expand the Medicaid health program to cover all adults with income below 138% of the federal poverty level (although not all states expanded their programs) and support innovative medical care delivery methods designed to lower the costs of healthcare generally.
The law was resisted by conservatives both in Congress and in many states. The idea of having affordable health insurance appears to have terrified them. Then, during the Trump administration (2017–2021), Republicans tried to cancel the program without having a plan to replace it. Those efforts failed, and the ACA continues in place.
So the 10th anniversary of the program has a special flavor. “In the last 10 years, millions of Californians enjoyed having health insurance,” said Patricia Izquierdo, spokesperson of Covered California.
On Nov. 16, Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California, visited Fresno for a brief celebration and to remind those without health insurance to take advantage of the program.
Here’s how it works. If you have employment with health insurance, you can’t apply to Covered
California but your dependents can. You must state your income when applying because the premium you’ll pay for your coverage depends on such income. And Covered California doesn’t accept nonresident applicants. This program is ideally for low- and middle-income people.