Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, kicked off its marketing and outreach campaign Monday for the upcoming 2015 open enrollment period. Officials say they forecast enrolling 1.7 million people, about 500,000 more than are presently signed up.
Peter Lee, the agency's executive director, acknowledged the work ahead. "It won't be easy," he said. "In many ways, it will be harder than last year."
For starters, the next open enrollment runs three months compared to last year's six month period when more than three million people signed up either for Covered California or to Medi-Cal, the state's version of Medicaid.
But analysts had long presumed at least a portion of those people were informed about health insurance and the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Lee said of those uninsured today and eligible for subsidies, 56 percent have been uninsured for at least two years, and 15 percent have never had insurance.
Those individuals have dealt with a "culture of coping," he said. "We want that to be a culture of coverage."