Summary: Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, California has reduced the number of uninsured from 6.5 million in 2011 to a projected 2.99 million in 2023. This dramatic increase in the number of Californians with health insurance coverage was the result of policy choices at both the state and federal levels to not simply implement the ACA but to build on it, including through early implementation, expansion of Medi-Cal, and improvements in subsidies.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan of 2021 to provide additional temporary financial help for buying health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces; this help substantially improved affordability and increased enrollment in Covered California.
Findings: If these enhanced subsidies are not extended for 2023 and beyond and subsidies revert to ACA level, the authors project 220,000 fewer Californians will have individual market insurance in 2023 than if enhanced subsidies are extended, and premiums will be less affordable for more than two million individual market enrollees. California’s recent progress on coverage and affordability could be reversed unless Congress renews the subsidies or state policymakers fill in the gaps.
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