Since its enactment 12 years ago today, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded more affordable coverage options to tens of millions of Americans through the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid expansion.
“The Affordable Care Act opened the door to universal coverage in California and together with policymakers, we are finding our way through that door,” said Paul Markovich, president and chief executive officer of Blue Shield of California. “At Blue Shield, our goal is to create a healthcare system that’s worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable, and we are steadfast in that vision in part by being the only insurer in Covered California that serves Californians in every corner of our state.”
The Golden State continues to set the national standard for making the ACA work. These efforts have produced positive results for Californians:
- More than 1.6 million Californians have individual market coverage on Covered California, which is more accessible and affordable than ever.
- 94% of Californians have a choice of at least three carriers, and Covered California’s consumer-focused plan design offers choices that are informative and easy to understand.
- Over the past three years, there has been a modest 1.1% increase in premiums for Covered California.
- Californians have access to federal and state premium assistance, as well as the forthcoming state help on cost-sharing for lower-income enrollees, expanding the availability of no- and low-premium coverage options.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders also deserve credit for bold, decisive action to use the ACA’s Medicaid expansion as a springboard, first expanding Medi-Cal to cover young adults under 26 and now adults 50 and over – regardless of immigration status. The State of California also led in extending post-partum Medicaid eligibility for new mothers.
Now, Congress has an opportunity to solidify these coverage gains by extending – within weeks – the expanded subsidies that make insurance more affordable for working and middle-class Americans. Failing to act quickly raises the potential of higher premiums, coverage disruptions and losses, and undermining our progress toward universal coverage. We also urge Congress to follow California’s lead by expanding post-partum Medicaid eligibility for new mothers by enacting the federal Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act.
Blue Shield of California looks forward to continuing work with our federal, state and industry partners to ensure the continued success and expansion of the ACA for many more anniversaries to come. This is a key path to our nonprofit health plan’s mission of helping to ensure everyone has access to quality care that’s sustainably affordable.
Christopher Kriva is senior director of Policy & Federal Regulatory Affairs at Blue Shield of California.