Covered California announced that California residents have through Friday, Dec. 21, to select a health insurance plan that will start on Tuesday, Jan. 1.
This extension of the first major deadline to have health insurance starting Jan. 1 is in response to a surge of interest in enrollment. Also, Covered Cal wants consumers to have ample time to enroll amid news reports of a legal ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
The announcement came Friday, Dec. 14, the final day of the federal open enrollment period, and hours after a Texas United States District Court Judge declared the ACA unconstitutional.
“Open enrollment is full steam ahead and continues in California and other states for several more weeks,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “No one in California should let this ruling discourage them from enrolling in health coverage or be worried about using the health plan they have.”
Federal officials have indicated the law will remain in place pending appeal.
While the open-enrollment period for health insurance ends for most of the country on Saturday, Covered California reminds consumers that they will be able to sign up all the way through Jan. 15, 2019.
“For most of the nation, the open-enrollment period ends [Saturday, Dec. 15], but that’s not the case in California,” Lee said. “Covered California will be open for another month. We put consumers first, making sure they have time to find the plan that best fits their needs.”
Consumer interest has surged in the past week, with about 58,000 people signing up for coverage since Monday, Dec. 10, including 12,000 on Thursday and 17,000 on Friday. The increased pace brings the number of new enrollees to select a plan during the current open enrollment period to 179,000. Another 1.2 million Covered Cal consumers have renewed their existing coverage for 2019.
“While we have been considering a deadline extension for some time, the potential confusion surrounding this ruling means giving our consumers five more days to enroll is the right thing to do,” Lee said in the announcement press release.
Consumers can easily find out if they are eligible for financial help and see which plans are available in their area by entering their ZIP code, household income and the ages of those who need coverage into Covered Cal’s Shop and Compare Tool.
“If you have checked before, take the time to check again, and don’t leave money on the table when you can get the peace of mind and protection that comes with health care coverage,” Lee urged the uninsured.
The average Covered Cal enrollee pays about $5 per day for coverage, but many pay far less. One out of every three Covered Cal consumers who receive financial help can purchase a Silver plan — which provides the best overall value — for $50 or less per month. Nearly three out of five of these consumers can get a Silver plan for $100 or less per month.
Those interested in learning more about their coverage options should visit www.CoveredCA.com, 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 www.coveredca.com/find-help/ and searching among 700 storefronts statewide or 16,000 certified enrollers who can assist consumers in understanding their choices and enrolling, including individuals who can assist in other languages.
In addition, consumers can reach the Covered California service center by calling 1-800-300-1506.