SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In response to a strong surge in enrollment, Covered California extended the deadline for consumers to sign up for health insurance that would start on Jan. 1. They will now have through Friday, Dec. 20, to sign up and have their coverage go into effect on New Year’s Day.
“Covered California is still open for business and making sure consumers can have a health plan in place on Jan. 1,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “Covered California is putting consumers first, making sure they have time to find the plan that best fits their needs.”
Beginning late last week, Covered California saw tens of thousands of people sign up for coverage on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“Open enrollment is full-steam ahead, and this year’s enrollment period is more important than before,” Lee said. “Sign up now and you may be eligible for new financial help that is available for the first time, and you can avoid the possibility of paying a significant penalty for not being covered.
Restoring the Individual Mandate
California lawmakers put two new policies in place for 2020 that were designed to encourage enrollment and lower costs.
First, they restored the individual mandate penalty that was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2014 to 2018, meaning consumers who do not get covered could face a penalty when they file their 2020 taxes in the spring of 2021.
For those facing a penalty, a family of four would pay at least $2,000, and potentially more, for not having health insurance throughout 2020.
Covered California is working with the Franchise Tax Board, which will administer the penalty, to alert Californians about the new law and reduce the number of uninsured people in our state.