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Covered CA Extends Deadline

Sacramento, CA – While midnight last Sunday concluded Covered California’s second open-enrollment period, consumers have the deadline of midnight this Sunday Feb. 22 to complete and submit coverage applications.

“If you got started or made an attempt to enroll before the 15th, our agents, enrollment counselors and Service Center representatives will help you get across the finish line,” confirms Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. However, in order to complete the process, he points out that consumers must engage a certified insurance agent or enrollment counselor, or contact the Covered California Service Center to facilitate the end-process. He warns those who do not enroll that they may not be able to get insurance until 2016 unless they have a specific qualifying condition or qualify for Medi-Cal, which provides ongoing enrollment.

According to Covered California officials, since open enrollment for 2015 began on Nov. 15, approximately 474,000 people have signed up. The more than 36,000 who enrolled last Sunday contributed to the current coverage period’s largest single-day volume of business for the state’s marketplace responsible for healthcare coverage under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

With the surge in sign ups, Lee estimates that more than a half-million people will enroll in a health plan through Covered California before the open-enrollment period ends. Beyond securing a health plan, another chief motivator is a new, higher tax penalty for those who choose to remain uninsured, called “the shared responsibility payment,” a charge of $325 per adult in a household or two percent of their income, whichever is greater. For more Covered California details, click here.

Medi-Cal has reported more than 779,000 program enrollees for the Nov. 15-Jan. 31 period, which it says indicate both an increasing desire and need for healthcare coverage. Through Medi-Cal care plans in each of the state’s 58 counties, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) provides health care services for about 12 million Californians, sustained by some $90 billion in earmarked public funds for the care of low-income families, children, pregnant women, seniors and persons with disabilities.