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Covered California: Some October enrollment numbers were wrong

Covered California said Monday that two of the numbers it had released regarding October health insurance enrollment were wrong. The agency said it had mistakenly transposed the numbers in two categories: the people who bought plans with federal subsidies, and those who bought unsubsidized policies. 

The corrected numbers for October are 25,978 individuals who enrolled with a federal subsidy, and 4,852 individuals who enrolled without a subsidy.  

KPCC raised questions about the numbers last Thursday after Covered California issued new data for combined enrollment in October and November. The numbers indicated that unsubsidized enrollment had gone from 84 percent of all enrollment in October to just 14 percent of the total for October and November combined. 

A spokesman had initially insisted the numbers were correct, and that the huge fluctuation was due to such things as cancellations, duplicate records and changes in eligibility. Covered California now says it discovered the error after further review of its data. 

"It was an unfortunate error, and we apologize for any confusion," said Covered California Communications Director Oscar Hidalgo. 

The corrected data confirm that the number of people buying unsubsidized plans has been a small part of the overall enrollment picture since Covered California opened for business on Oct. 1. An agency spokesman and an independent expert predict that more people will buy unsubsidized policies moving forward

Individuals making more than four times the federal poverty level - about $46,000 for an individual and about $94,000 for a family of four - are not eligible for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

People have until Dec. 23 to sign up for plans that take affect Jan. 1. The open enrollment period runs through March 31.