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Covered California Premiums To See Only Marginal Rise In 2021

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Californians who get their medical coverage through the state's health insurance marketplace likely won't see their premiums rise by very much next year.

Hospital In El Centro, California Copes With Area's Rise In Coronavirus Infections
EL CENTRO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) A nurse cares for a coronavirus (COVID-19) patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at El Centro Regional Medical Center in hard-hit Imperial County on July 28, 2020 in El Centro, California. Imperial County currently suffers from the highest mortality and near-highest infection rates from COVID-19 in California. The rural county, which is 85 percent Latino, borders Mexico and Arizona and endures high poverty rates and air pollution while also being medically underserved. In California, Latinos make up about 39 percent of the population but account for 55 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases amid the pandemic. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The agency announced Tuesday that premiums will rise by an average of only 0.6% in 2021, the lowest mark ever since the Affordable Care Act was established a decade ago.

In 2020, the rate rose by only 0.8%. That came after serious spikes of 13.2%, 12.5% and 8.7% respectively between 2017 and 2019.

Since then, the California Legislature has made serious efforts to keep premium hikes low. In June of 2019, the legislature approved a bill which brings back the individual mandate and institutes a tax penalty for those who don't buy health insurance.

About 1.5 million Californian's are enrolled in health insurance through Covered California. 88% of those receive some form of federal or state subsidies.

Without any subsidies, the monthly premium for a Covered California consumer averages $587. However, in 2020, the average Covered California consumer was paying only $130 per month because of the federal tax credits and state subsidies.

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced statewide shutdowns in mid-March, more than 231,000 people have signed up for coverage through Covered California.

"California's bold policies to provide additional state financial help, to reinstate the penalty to encourage consumers to enroll in health care, and to make significant marketing investments in Covered California are providing stability and lower costs in the face of national uncertainty," Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California said in a statement.

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