The California Report: Nearly 500,000 Californians Enrolled in Obamacare Plans, Federal Data Show


  • Screenshot from, the website of Covered California.

Screen shot from, the website of Covered California.

Federal officials reported Monday that 2.2 million people nationwide have selected a plan in the new health insurance marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 500,000 of them are Californians.

The numbers were released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also reported demographics across age groups, gender and tier of plan chosen.

While California makes up about 12 percent of the nation’s population, the state’s enrollment is 22 percent of the national total.

“We’re pleased that California is leading the nation,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a consumer advocacy group. “It’s an indication that California’s efforts to aggressively take advantage of the Affordable Care Act is paying big dividends.”

Specifically, 498,794 Californians have selected a plan, and 25 percent of them are between the ages of 18 and 34. That’s well below the Obama administration target of 40 percent. Younger adults are highly desirable to insurance companies as younger people are presumed to be (in general) more healthy, and their presence in the insurance pool helps spread risk.

The 25 percent enrollment is in line with young adults’ representation in the population, but in the ACA landscape that’s not the population that matters to insurers. Instead, the pool is not the general population but rather the pool of people buying insurance on their own plus the uninsured — and minus those eligible for Medi-Cal, says Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.


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