Covered California renewal and open enrollment periods have begun. Individuals and families can buy brand-name, private health insurance under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Anyone can buy health insurance through Covered California, but eligibility for aid to help pay for a plan is based on income. Covered California also offers plans for small businesses.
Open enrollment to buy new health care insurance runs through January 31, 2018. Residents must sign up by December 15 for coverage starting January 1, 2018.
Residents can renew or change a current plan through December 15. Residents who don’t renew will automatically be re-enrolled in their current plans, except for those with Anthem Blue Cross. Since Anthem no longer offers a plan in Sonoma County, clients must renew with a different health plan or be automatically enrolled in the lowest-cost, comparable plan.
In Sonoma County, four companies offer plans for residents to choose from: Blue Shield, Health Net Life, Kaiser Permanente and Western Health Advantage. Covered California also makes health coverage available to small businesses and their employees. Visit Covered California for Small Business for more information.
There are several ways to apply or renew:
- Online at www.coveredca.com.
- By phone at (888) 975-1142, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
- With free local assistance from a Redwood Community Health Center Certified Enrollment Counselor. Call (707) 565-4476.
- Through Sonoma County Human Services Department Economic Assistance. 2550 Paulin Drive, Santa Rosa, or the South County Service Center, 5350 Old Redwood Highway, in northern Petaluma, or by calling (877) 699-6868.
To apply for Covered California, one type of government identification (driver’s license or other ID) is needed. For residents who lost documentation in the fires, a Certified Enrollment Counselor or insurance agent can provide referrals to agencies that help replace vital documents. If no documents are available, applicants must pass the Remote Identity Proofing process at www.coveredca.com in order to apply.
Residents who lost their jobs and/or employer-sponsored insurance due to the fires may be eligible for Covered California or Medi-Cal health care at a lower cost than COBRA insurance. A Certified Enrollment Counselor can help residents understand their health care options. For more information online about health insurance options, visit the Sonoma County Department of Health Services.
By contacting the agencies listed above, residents can also learn if they’re eligible for the low-/no-cost Medi-Cal health care program. Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round. Residents whose addresses have changed should contact Economic Assistance in order to receive timely Medi-Cal renewal notifications.