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Mon Apr 12, 2021, 07:59 PM

California re-opens enrollment for health insurance coverage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California on Monday re-opened enrollment for its state health insurance exchange, hoping more people will buy coverage now that the federal government is offering new assistance that could lower monthly premiums by $1,000 or more in some cases.

Normally, people can only buy health insurance through the state exchange — known as Covered California — once per year during an open enrollment period. But last month, President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. About $3 billion of that money is coming to California in the form of new subsidies to help some people pay their monthly health insurance premiums. In some cases, people can buy coverage for as little as $1 per month.

The new subsidies are only available through December 2022 to people who buy coverage through a health insurance exchange, which were created as part of former President Barack Obama's health care law. Starting Monday, state officials said they would let people purchase plans on California's exchange through the end of the year.

To get the money, people must be legal U.S. residents who can’t get affordable health insurance from their job and meet certain income requirements. About 1.4 million people in California already get federal subsidies that lower their monthly health insurance premiums. For those people, the new subsidies will automatically lower their premiums even more — about $180 on average per household per month.


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