Originally published by SacBee.com on Jan. 9, 2019
Californians hoping to sign up for medical coverage through Covered California have until Tuesday, Jan. 15, when open enrollment ends.
This year’s deadline is earlier than in 2018, when open enrollment for the state ended Jan. 31. Those who sign up for coverage by Jan. 15 will begin receiving benefits on Feb. 1. Those who do not sign up for coverage by Jan. 15 will miss their opportunity to be covered in 2019 unless they qualify for special enrollment.
“Covered California knows that many consumers are deadline driven and often wait until the final few days to sign up for health insurance,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee in an announcement of the organization’s final statewide enrollment tour. “We want to make sure they know that this year’s deadline is earlier than it has been in the past, and they must take action in the next week in order to get the peace of mind and protection they deserve in 2019.”
Open enrollment for most states ended Dec. 21, 2018, after the partial government shutdown extended the deadline from Dec. 15. Covered California reports that more than 238,000 people had signed up for coverage as of that date.
On Monday, The Sacramento Bee reported that California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, announced plans to institute a state tax penalty on people who don’t have insurance. The federal Affordable Care Act had created a national tax penalty, but Congress voted in 2017 to revoke it, starting with tax returns for 2019 income.
Additionally, Newsom is seeking approval from the federal government to implement a single-payer health care system in California, which was a focus for Newsom on the campaign trail.
According to Covered California, “the majority of uninsured Californians who are eligible for financial help either do not know or mistakenly think they do not qualify.”
About 90 percent of the people who sign up for a health plan through the exchange receive financial help, with the average person paying about $5 per day for coverage, Covered California said.