The figures, to be released during the Covered California board meeting Thursday, will test some of the agency's claims that the program is working effectively, including whether enough young and healthy people are signing up and how well its website is working. Insurers need to attract the healthier demographic to balance out the costs of those with pre-existing medical conditions who are most likely to seek the benefits of the online marketplaces.
Executive Director Peter Lee said last week that more than 59,000 people had signed up for private insurance health plans through the exchange from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12. That is a tentative number because Lee did not disclose the number of people who have actually paid premiums on their new policies. Those payments are due in December.
Nationwide, officials have acknowledged that early sign-ups have skewed toward older, sicker people who need health insurance. If that trend persists, it could lead insurance companies to increase premiums and deductibles in 2015 and beyond.
He said people who are not as desperate for coverage might need to hear about Covered California seven or eight times before they sign up for health coverage.
Insurers have warned that they need a wide range of people signing up for coverage because premiums paid by adults in the younger and healthier group, between 18 and 35, are needed to offset the cost of carrying older and sicker customers who typically generate far more in medical bills than they contribute in premiums.
Lee said last week that unlike the federal website, which has been beset with problems, Californians are "enrolling with ease" online.
Also Thursday, the board will announce
So far, the Affordable Care Act has fallen far short of expectations in overall enrollment. The first set of data revealed that 106,000 people signed up for coverage nationwide during the first month, fewer than the roughly 500,000 initial sign-ups the Obama administration had expected.
Just a handful of states has released more detailed enrollment figures, all of which show older, sicker people signing up first. In