Open enrollment for Covered California, the California state-run marketplace for health insurance, is ending soon. California residents have until 11:59 PM tonight, Sunday, January 31, to begin the health insurance sign up process, although the signups don’t have to be completed tonight.
Once residents begin the signup process, they have until the end of the day on February 6 to finish the insurance sign up process. The February 6 completion deadline date was offered as an extension after the Covered California customer service lines were flooded with calls in recent days. From Monday to Wednesday over last week alone, Covered California handled over 120,000 calls.
To qualify for the February 6th insurance extension, consumers must begin the process by tonight or they will lose out on the open enrollment period and could face a penalty for being uninsured.
If California residents are having difficulty signing up under Covered California, officials urge them to contact service representatives to help them complete the signup process. Enrollment drives are also taking place in certain locations, such as the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, until midnight tonight to help people enroll. Consumers who are ready to begin the sign up process can call (800) 300-1506 or get additional information on finding help in person on coveredca.com/get-help/local.
James Scullary, a spokesman for Covered California said, “As each deadline approaches, we normally see tremendous interest. As we get to that deadline, people rush to get it done. We want to make sure everyone who tries to get health insurance gets the time and assistance they need to get the coverage they deserve.”
According to ABC 7, the state-run health care exchange was launched in October 2013 and has reduced the number of uninsured Californians by millions.
California officials released data last week about the state-run healthcare program to help drive enrollment. According to Daily News, Covered California enrollees had over 5,000 babies delivered, almost 11,000 incidents of cancer treatment provided, and almost 90 organ transplants over an 18 month time span from 2014 to mid-2015.
By law, hospital emergency rooms must provide care to all patients. However, Covered California enrollees have many of their hospital bills covered through their insurance, potentially saving them thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
In addition, nearly nine out of ten people who sign up for insurance through Covered California qualify for a federal subsidy to lower their share of the premium cost. If consumers miss the open enrollment period, they can only enroll without penalty if they have a life changing event, such as a marriage, divorce, job loss, birth, or a move.
Covered California is an initiative under The Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act requires all people to maintain health insurance, and those who are uninsured face financial penalties of up to $2,085 per family.
“You no longer have to gamble on something as important as your health, because there is financial assistance available to help bring you and your family quality health care coverage,” explained Peter Lee, an executive director for Covered California.
If you’re a resident of California and currently uninsured, be sure to contact a Covered California representative or head to the website to begin the enrollment process so you don’t miss out on the open enrollment period.
[Photo credit: Getty Images & Covered California]