Covered California officials this week provided a snapshot of the latest insurance enrollment numbers.
Last March 276,350 Bay Area residents enrolled in Covered California, which offers discounts to some state residents on brand-name health insurance and where others can sign up for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medcaid program.
About 1.4 million people statewide enrolled in Covered California last March. The new numbers may be up 20 percent over last year, a Covered California spokesman said recently.
“We’ve seen significant interest in enrollment” in this enrollment period, which ended Jan. 31, Covered California spokesman James Scullary said.
Last year was a down year because no penalty existed for people who did not have insurance, he said.
But state legislators enacted a law that took effect Jan. 1 that requires most California residents to have insurance or face a penalty at tax time. No penalty exists at the federal level anymore.
Scullary said the penalty provides an economic “nudge” for people to get insurance.