Covered California sees surge in Gold-tier plan enrollment

In the first two weeks of open enrollment, Covered California has seen a surge in enrollees signing up for Gold-tier plans compared to 2016. This year, 12 percent of new subsidy-eligible customers have chosen a gold plan – up from only 4 percent in the first two weeks of 2016 enrollment.

Covered California also reports a decrease in the number of people purchasing Silver-tier plans. While silver plans are still the most commonly selected coverage option, their enrollment has dropped from 56 percent to 45 percent. This is likely related to the Trump Administration’s decision to end cost sharing reduction payments, a move that increased the cost of silver band premiums by an average 34 percent across the country. Advanced Premium Tax Credits, which are tied to the cost of the second lowest silver plan, also make gold plans even more affordable for qualifying customers. In fact, in some states like Hawaii and Texas, this has created a situation where silver plans are more expensive than gold.

Covered California is reporting small increases in enrollees in Bronze and Platinum coverage plans as well.

“Consumers are shopping smart, and finding out that there are many good options this year that are well within their reach,” said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. “Anyone who has shopped in the past should come back and take a second look because prices are lower for many.”

The number of overall enrollees in California’s exchange is also up from last year. From Nov. 1 through Nov. 14, over 48,000 new customers have signed up – an increase from the 39,000 new enrollees during the same time period last year. Lee credits this to Covered California’s expanded marketing and outreach efforts.