Covered California, the state health insurance marketplace for California, has announced the health plans and preliminary premium rates for purchasing health insurance in each of California’s 19 regions for 2016. According to Covered California, the statewide weighted average increase will be 4 percent, which is lower than last year’s increase of 4.2 percent. In addition, California consumers could reduce their premiums by an average of 4.5 percent, and by more than 10 percent in some regions, if they shop around and change to a lower-cost plan within the same “metal” tier of health insurance plans. To date, Covered California has enrolled more than 1.3 million Californians in commercial health insurance, making it the largest of the state health insurance marketplaces established through the Affordable Care Act.
The announcement also includes premium rates to be offered by two new health plans in some regions of the California marketplace, UnitedHealthcare and Oscar. UnitedHealthcare is the nation’s largest health insurance plan and Oscar Health Insurance is a health plan focused on younger members, with internet and app-based interfaces, and a 24/7 doctor on call service that focuses on technology-savvy millennials.
These preliminary rates are still subject to review by state regulatory bodies (the California Department of Managed Health Care and Department of Insurance) before they are finalized for the open enrollment for 2016 coverage, beginning on November 1, 2015 and ending on January 31, 2016.