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New Beginnings in California

By Angela Perry

New beginnings are always tough, no matter what. Whether it’s a new school, new job, new house, or just a new game of Words With Friends, beginning something new brings a whole host of challenges and complications into your life. And the years between 18 and 34 seem to be especially full of new beginnings, since this is when most of us really begin to break out on our own and establish ourselves as young adults, independent and in charge of our own destinies.

Last week was a big week of new beginnings for me. First, I started my new job as a Legal Intern here at Young Invincibles (which I am super excited about!). And second, Covered California announced the new health care plans they will be offering in 2014. Now, most people were probably not as excited about this announcement as we were here at YI, but everyone should be getting excited, because this is good news for young Californians!

Originally, there were industry predictions that rates would rise dramatically (“rate shock”) with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but the 13 new Covered California plans have pleasantly surprised even the critics. If you’re curious about the plans, but not quite nerdy enough to spend an entire day reading about them (like I did), these are the two things you should know:

1) The cost of these plans is significantly less expensive than was anticipated (even before you include access to tax credits to bring down the cost further for low and moderate income individuals families), and

2) Covered California designed these plans to reduce disparities in health care.

These two things are very exciting to us here at Young Invincibles! First, the plans are cheaper than people thought they would be AND cheaper than many plans are right now! In comparison to current rates in California, Covered California’s rates range from 2% above to 29% below the 2013 average premium rates in California’s most populous markets, making quality health care coverage more affordable for large numbers of people. Also, each plan must meet state standards for having an adequate network of doctors, hospitals and other providers, and Covered California required many plans to add medical groups or hospitals to their networks in order to be more inclusive.

Although new beginnings are often rocky, last week proved to be a relatively good beginning for both Covered California and me. Covered California was able to announce that their new plans would be less expensive and provide more coverage than was anticipated, and I successfully completed the first week of my internship and built an Ikea bookshelf.

If you’d like to figure out your own potential insurance costs in 2014, you can use the handy calculator provided on the Covered California website. You can also listen to a discussion about the new rates, listen to a NPR story where my super cool boss talks about YI’s awesome mobile app, or check out Assemblymember Cooley’s announcement online. You can also check out what Young Invincibles is up to here in California, or in our DC office, and you can share your own health care story with us online!