RIVERSIDE – By the end of 2013, the number of uninsured Inland Empire residents who enrolled in healthcare plans offered through the state’s health insurance exchange was about half of what was expected, according to figures released today.
California Department of Health Care Services officials said that from the time Covered California began enrolling people Oct. 1 to year’s end, a total 39,474 residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties signed up for subsidized and unsubsidized health insurance.
The state had projected 76,069 enrollees over the three-month span.
Figures showed 23,417 uninsured Riverside County residents and 16,057 San Bernardino County residents signed up.
Based on a six-month projection of enrollees through the first quarter of 2014, the California Department of Health Care Services had predicted 40,377 for Riverside and 35,692 for San Bernardino.
Data indicated that enrollments in neighboring Orange and San Diego counties have exceeded expectations, at 113 and 105 percent, respectively.
Total statewide enrollment in health insurance plans using Covered California was 500,108 — about 14 percent below projections.
Covered California is the state’s health insurance ”marketplace” through which plans are offered to people regardless of income or health status. The exchange was established under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010, better known as Obama Care.
Individuals, families and small businesses are eligible to use the portal, but can also continue to shop in the private sector for coverage, which is mandatory under Obama Care.
Covered California estimates that in 2014, 2.6 million state residents who previously could not afford health insurance will be able to obtain it, in some cases with taxpayer-backed ”premium payment assistance,” which includes enrollment in Medi-Cal.
Private insurance carriers offering plans via the exchange include Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net and Kaiser Permanente.