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Covered California: What to know ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline

Posted at 6:40 AM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 12:57:25-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Covered California estimates 1.1 million Californians are uninsured when it comes to their health coverage and many of those are eligible through either Medi-cal or Covered California, but they need to act soon if they want coverage in 2022.

“One of the sad things we’ve all realized with the COVID pandemic is life can change in an instance,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California.

California became the first state to record more than 5 million known coronavirus infections, according to the state dashboard Tuesday. With a suspected surge of cases estimated to come in February, Covered California wants to make sure the only bill on your mind is a bill of health.

“You don’t have insurance you’re saddled with a big medical debt that’s going to be hanging over your head for years to come,” Lee said.

FAIR Health, which manages the nation’s largest database of privately billed health insurance claims, found that the average cost for a complex care COVID-19 hospitalization was $127,281 in California.

FAIR Health, which manages the nation’s largest database of privately billed health insurance claims, found that the average cost for a complex care COVID-19 hospitalization was $127,281 in California.

Lee says anyone without employer-based coverage could be eligible for health insurance through Covered California. According to their data, here in the Central Valley, this applies to an estimated 115,000 residents.

For many of these uninsured Californians, Lee says coverage not only benefits them in an emergency but encourages people to maintain preventative care.

“Insurance is there so you can not need to go to the hospital,” Lee said. “If you end up going to the hospital and getting into the ICU, the average bill for that say is going to be around $130,000."

Lee says the cost is dependent on location but with a number of different providers throughout the Central Valley residents could find coverage for less than $100 a month.

Those interested in applying for coverage can explore their options with any of Covered California’s licensed insurance agents. You can also call Covered California at (800) 300-1506 and get information or enroll by phone.

“The less your income is, the richer your financial support,” Lee said.

Covered California’s open-enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, 2022. Those who sign up after Dec. 31 will have their coverage start on Feb. 1.