At the end of February, Covered California released promising figures for enrollment in Obamacare thus far. More than 1.6 million Californians had signed up for health care coverage through the state exchange by the end of January, with an upward trend in enrollment continuing throughout February.
With several weeks to go, Covered California has already exceeded projected enrollment numbers for the 2014 open enrollment period.
However, when breaking down enrollment figures, it’s easy to see that small businesses compose only a tiny percentage of overall enrollment in health insurance programs. Here is a current breakdown of enrollment figures:
- Over 1.6 million Californians are now covered by health insurance
- About half – 877,000 – were determined eligible for Medi-Cal
- Over 828,000 Californians selected an individual health insurance plan through Covered California
- Of those who selected an individual health insurance plan, about 626,000 were eligible for subsidies to help cover the cost of premiums
- Covered California’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) has enrolled 571 small businesses, representing about 5,000 Californians and their dependents
Clearly, the vast majority of Californians who have gained health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act are individuals who purchased their own policies, or who now qualify for Medi-Cal. Small business enrollment still lags far behind individual enrollments, possibly due to difficulties with the SHOP website. The website is currently suspended for repairs, but business owners who wish to provide their employees with health insurance coverage can still file a paper application or speak with a Covered California certified insurance agent.
Tax credits are available for many small businesses which opt to provide insurance coverage for employees. Many business owners are still unsure of whether they qualify, which may be one factor contributing to the lag in enrollment. A certified insurance agent or tax professional can provide more information about tax credits for small businesses.