Enrollment in Covered California may be up 20% over last year

Covered California officials on Tuesday will provide a snapshot of the latest insurance enrollment numbers, the officials said Monday.

Last March 276,350 Bay Area residents enrolled in Covered California, which offers discounts to some state residents on brand-name health insurance and where others can sign up for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medcaid program. About 1.4 million people statewide enrolled in Covered California last March. The new numbers may be up 20 percent over last year, a Covered California spokesman said recently.

“We’ve seen significant interest in enrollment” in this enrollment period, which ended Jan. 31, Covered California spokesman James Scullary said.

Last year was a down year because no penalty existed for people who did not have insurance, he said. But state legislators enacted a law that took effect Jan. 1 that requires most California residents to have insurance or face a penalty at tax time.

No penalty exists at the federal level anymore. Scullary said the penalty provides an economic “nudge” for people to get insurance.

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