Covered California: 2 million people have purchased health insurance through the exchange

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

More than two million people have purchased and received health insurance through Covered California, the state's insurance marketplace, since it opened for business in the fall of 2013, officials announced Thursday. 

Today,  about 1.3 million continue to have coverage from insurance plans purchased through the state-run exchange, says Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. 

Of the 700,000 people who have left the exchange, about 15 percent report they are without coverage, Lee says. The remainder - about 85 percent - have insurance through their employer; through Medi-Cal or through a private plan sold off the exchange, he says. 

"Covered California is providing peace of mind not only to those who we insure today," Lee says, " "but to the millions of Californians with employer-based coverage, who now know that they have options if they ever were to leave their job."

Of the 1.3 million Californians who are currently enrolled in plans purchased through the exchange, Lee says about 90 percent receive subsidies in the form of tax credits used to offset the cost of their insurance.

 Those tax credits, he says, cover about 70 percent of the premium costs for the typical consumer who now pays  on average $157 a month for insurance coverage. 

As of June 2015, nearly 30 percent of Covered California's enrollees identified as Latino, up from 28 percent at the beginning of 2015, but still below the 37 percent of California Latinos experts have identified as eligible for health insurance subsidies through the exchange. 

African-Americans make up 2.4 percent of consumers on the exchange - about half as many as are eligible for subsidies. 

"While we have gotten the word out very effectively to the vast majority of Californians, there are still some that haven't gotten the message that health care can be affordable by making premiums affordable," Lee said.

As of June 2015, whites comprised more than 37 percent of Covered California enrollees and Asians made up about 23 percent of its enrollees. 

Covered California's third open enrollment period starts  in November 1, 2015 and closes on Jan. 31, 2016.