Covered California extends deadlines to sign up for health insurance


The deadline has been extended for anyone seeking to buy insurance through the state’s brokered marketplace, Covered California, for anyone trying to obtain coverage that begins next year.

People who initiated the Covered California application process by the original deadline of Dec. 15 will have until Sunday to complete the process and pick a health plan, state health officials said Tuesday. Health coverage will still begin Jan. 1 for those who meet the new deadline.

Roy Kennedy, a Covered California spokesman, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that the state health exchange will examine each application on a “case-by-case” basis to determine if people qualify for the extension. In some cases, he said, those who started the process with a local insurance broker or enrollment specialist — but did not complete it — may qualify for the extension.

“We’re encouraging those people to visit any one of many locations we have” for help, Kennedy said.

“Covered California is the state health insurance marketplace set up under Obamacare. Individuals and families who purchase insurance through the state health exchange may qualify for financial assistance to pay for insurance.

The amount of financial help is based on an individual’s or family’s household income. Anyone who makes up to 400% of the federal poverty standard qualifies for subsidized care. Those whose incomes fall below 133% of federal poverty  may also qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program.

As the Press-Democrat reports,  a family of four with a household income below $32,913 would qualify for Medi-Cal. However, the family could receive financial assistance to help pay for insurance premiums if their household income is between $32,913 and $95,400.