File Photo. Kit Karzen

By Jagdip Dhillon

Covered California is urging people to “get covered and stay covered” during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, not only with masks to fight against the pandemic, but also with quality health care coverage. Open enrollment is underway right now, and during these trying times, having a health plan you can count on is more important than ever before.

An estimated 338,000 people remain uninsured in Los Angeles County, even though they are eligible for financial help through Covered California or low-cost or no-cost coverage through Medi-Cal.

“The pandemic shines a light on the importance of health insurance and access to quality care, and now is the time to sign up for coverage through Covered California,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. “We will be reaching into every corner of the state to encourage Californians to keep COVID-safe and to get health coverage now.”

The good news for people in NE Los Angeles County is that premiums will remain relatively unchanged in 2021. Covered California announced the rate change for the region will be -0.9 percent in 2021, which is lower than the statewide average change of 0.6 percent. More importantly, consumers may be able to pay less than they are paying now, by an average of -10.7 percent, if they shop around and switch to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier.

“Providing access to affordable health care coverage is more critical than ever as our state and nation continue to navigate this pandemic,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Covered California opens the door to quality care by making financial assistance available to help Californians get the coverage they need. Now is the time to get covered and stay covered.”

In an effort to promote open enrollment and make clear the connection between insurance coverage and the COVID pandemic, Covered California will be mailing masks (see right) to its record 1.5 million enrollees, and provide them to all new consumers who sign up during the open-enrollment period.

All consumers will be asked to wear the masks to prevent the spread of the virus, while spreading the word about open enrollment.

“The pandemic is front and center in all of our lives, which means the issues of health and wellbeing are more important than ever before,” Lee said. “Getting covered with a mask will help protect Californians and their families and friends; getting covered with a health plan will help protect people if they get sick.”

Open enrollment, which is the one time of the year when eligible Californians can sign up for health care coverage without needing to meet any requirements, runs through Jan. 31.

In addition, in order to help bring the cost of coverage within reach, the state of California will continue to provide more financial help to eligible consumers in 2021 through a subsidy program. Overall, the financial help from the federal government, the state, or both, helps the average person save about 80 percent off the cost of their monthly premium.

The most recent data shows there are 197,030 Covered California consumers in NE Los Angeles County. Depending on their ZIP code, people in these counties will once again be able to choose plans from Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, L.A. Care, Molina Healthcare and Oscar.

Consumers can see their options and find out whether they are eligible for financial help by visiting Covered California’s website at and using the Shop and Compare Tool.

Consumers who do not have health insurance will be able to begin signing up for 2021 coverage in the fall. Others with special qualifying life events, like losing their coverage or moving, can enroll year-round. Medi-Cal enrollment is also year-round.

Interested consumers should go to to find out if they qualify for financial help and find free local help to enroll. They can contact the Covered California service center for enrollment assistance by calling (800) 300-1506.

Jagdip Dhillon Information is with Coverd California’s Office of Communications and Public Relations