Covered Cal signs up 217,000

California’s Obamacare operation says 217,146 consumers have signed up for new coverage in the 2015 health insurance campaign.

Obamacare in California logo - health exchange“More than 1,099,200 people sought coverage and were determined eligible for private health insurance and eligible or likely eligible for Medi-Cal from the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15 through Jan. 11,” Covered California said in breaking down the numbers Jan. 13.

There were 466,778 enrollments into Medi-Cal coverage, Covered California said. Medi-Cal has enrolled more than 2.2 million consumers since the beginning of 2014.

The state Obamacare organization also warned the uninsured that tax penalties loom for those who refuse to get covered:

“Consumers must enroll soon to ensure they don’t miss the window of opportunity for buying subsidized health coverage this year and to avoid steep penalties taking effect for not having coverage in 2015,” said Covered California chief Peter Lee.

The organization seeks to educate those who “do not understand the size of the penalty exactly.”

The signup information reflects only new signups. Covered California said it would report on renewals “sometime in early 2015.”

There were 304,394 “eligibility determinations” during the period, Covered California said. This means consumers provided information indicating they were eligible for private health insurance under the state Obamacare operation. The clear majority of those buying insurance can receive some level of subsidies from the state government.

Through Dec. 15, end of the first month of signups, 144,178 people had newly enrolled. Covered California officials have said they expected a slowdown over the holidays.

Covered California has targeted a total of 1.7 million in its customer base as of Feb. 15, the end of open enrollment. That includes renewals from the 2014 campaign. Lee said the group was “quite confident” of making the goal.

Consumers with existing Covered California-sold policies are renewed automatically, although terms and premiums have changed across the board — making a review of coverage options beneficial in many cases. Covered California policies saw increases of about 4 percent for next year, although some plans saw decreases, notably some from Kaiser Permanente.

An estimated 3.2 million people remain uninsured in California

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