Covered California enrollment gains momentum


Covered California: What you need to know

How many people are dialing in? How many people are signing up?

For Covered California, there were glitches from day one as technical problems slowed the enrollment process. Officials said Tuesday that more than 16,300 applications were processed during the marketplace's first five days of operation.

"That in week one have been determined eligible for federal subsidies to make health care affordable, newly eligible for Medi-Cal, or not eligible for financial help, but for the first time, not being able to be denied by an insurance company," said Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee.

Lee says an additional 27,000 households have partially completed applications.

Critics of Covered California say those are small numbers.

"To me it sounds like a miniscule number compared to the people that I had heard would be truly eligible, and I had thought it was in the 5 millions," said Karen Kenney, coordinator of the San Fernando Valley Patriots.

At a Tuesday news conference, Covered California officials presented 57-year-old Paul Torrigino. He says he couldn't afford medical insurance before. He's signed up now, and with subsidies will have a monthly premium of $1.

"I have a really great sense of relief that I'm able to get medical insurance now because I have a small pension, early retirement, I could not afford medical insurance," said Torrigino.

"I wonder who else pays the rest," said Karen Kenney, coordinator of the San Fernando Valley Patriots. "Somebody, either you and I, or the folks out there, we end up paying the cost. And the costs are not only in taxes or cash, but in health care cuts and the type of coverages available."

Covered California officials say the system is getting better. They are now able to sign up people much faster than they did last week. The goal is to lower the wait time to just 30 seconds.

Covered California: What you need to know

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