More than 1.5 millionpeople in California have purchased health insurance through a taxpayer funded marketplace, state officials announced Tuesday, the first increase in enrollment after three years of decline.
The 1.6% increase comes after California lawmakers approved a new tax on the uninsured and offered new subsidies to help middle-income earners pay their monthly health insurance premiums. Both were first-in-the-nation changes meant to boost enrollment at a time when the federal government under Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has seen enrollment fall nationwide.
But even though the open enrollment period ended Jan. 31, California’s numbers could still increase this year. State officials have decided anyone who did not know they would have to pay a tax for not having health insurance can still sign up for coverage through April 30. That’s because the state has decided to make that ignorance a “qualifying life event,” which would let them purchase coverage.