Covered California is the government run agency that helps you obtain a subsidy if you buy your insurance through them. The insurance plans offered are from Blue Shield of CA, Kaiser, Anthem, HealthNet and so on. Covered California (a service) has had complaints of long wait times and inaccurate information. Employees of Covered California are licensed agents. Independent brokers can represent Covered California as well. The main reason a person uses Covered California is to obtain a government subsidy on their insurance premium. The plans are slightly different than non-subsidized plans, and the physician network is different.
Much of this information is not new. What is new are the new income levels that allow members to obtain a sizable subsidy if they enroll with Covered California. Recently a client of mine obtained a very nice subsidy and makes $250,000 per year. He is keeping the same plan but channeling it through Covered California.
Eventually Covered California will own most of the individual health insurance market. The network will be different and not as robust. The good news is that you will be eligible to change your plan once a year.