Last month, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act to extend subsidies for Americans who needed health care coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state said the extension will now expand coverage to more middle class residents and lower costs for people who sign up through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
James Scullary is a spokesperson for Covered California. He said in California most people have healthcare coverage through their employer, and during the pandemic when people began losing their jobs, it was important to set up coverage during a health care crisis.
“If you get it through your business, or you get it through your work, usually you pay a small portion [and] your company pays a larger portion. That was not an option for people who didn’t get coverage through their employer,” Scullary said.
Scullary said passing this legislation is a huge win for people who typically have to pay full coverage, like small business owners, entrepreneurs, and contractors.
“For people in San Luis Obispo and across the state, they’re not going to have to worry about this for the next three years,” Scullary said.
Scullary said if Congress didn’t extend this legislation, consumers would have received renewal notices from Covered California at a higher rate. Cementing these subsidies for the next three years will cap insurance costs at 8.5 percent, supply free plans to people earning less than the federal poverty level, and extend help to those who were previously unqualified for federal assistance.
“We had middle-income families who would have been paying 20, 25, maybe even 30% of their household income toward health insurance premiums. Now that you have this system, no one is paying more than eight and a half percent,” Scullary said.
He said since March of this year, about 15,000 people in San Luis Obispo County signed up for Covered California and now throughout the state more than 1.7 million enrollees are receiving federal subsidies.
“This is great news for them, but it is also really important news for anyone out there who still needs health insurance,” Scullary said.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed along party lines, with Republicans opposing the bill for several reasons including its higher taxes on certain corporations. But Scullary said these subsidies are important news for anyone in California who needs coverage.
Open enrollment for Covered California begins on November 1.
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