Friday is Covered Cal’s deadline

For California residents who need or want health insurance by Jan. 1, they can still secure health insurance through Covered California by Friday, Dec. 22.

Covered Cal’s open-enrollment period for 2018 ends Jan. 31, but the effective date of the insurance will be later.

According to Covered Cal’s recent announcement, “…the price of coverage is lower than last year for most consumers.”

A recent Covered Cal analysis found that the net monthly premiums for enrollees who receive financial help are on average 10-percent lower than what new and renewing consumers paid last year. The lower prices are a result of more financial help being available for consumers who qualify for assistance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is designed to protect consumers by providing more premium tax credits when premiums rise.

Since Nov. 1, more than 182,000 new customers have signed up with Covered Cal; nearly 20 percent have signed up for one of Covered Cal’s plans in the past two weeks.

With this surge of new customers, Covered Cal extended the enrollment date to Dec. 22 for health insurance to start Jan 1. After Dec. 22, coverage will start on Feb. 1 at the earliest, Covered Cal stated.

While the 2018 deadline for seeking Affordable Care Coverage is Dec. 15 for most of the nation, California’s deadline is Jan. 31.

Consumers interested in learning more about their coverage options should go to where they can get help to enroll. They can explore their options and find out if they qualify for financial help by using the Shop and Compare Tool.

They can also get free and confidential enrollment assistance by visiting and searching among 800 storefronts statewide, or more than 17,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages. Also, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling 800-300-1506.