Covered California 'grace period' for health insurance ends Friday (updated)

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Covering California series icon 2013Update 1:45 p.m.: There's a new deadline for people who are still trying to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and Covered California: Friday at 8 p.m.
That's the newly extended enrollment grace period offered to consumers who were stymied in their attempts  to meet the Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for health insurance that begins on  Jan. 1, said James Scullary, a spokesman for Covered California. 

But there's a catch: If you're among those scrambling to finish up, you'll have to do so by phone, Scullary said. That's because the Covered California website is not configured to take online applications for January policies past Monday's deadline. 

Covered California announced the grace period Monday after it became clear that thousands of people were unable to get coverage because the website and call centers were overwhelmed.

RELATED: California offers 'grace period' for those who can't finish insurance enrollment by midnight

The grace period applies to anyone who attempted to start an application by Monday, Scullary said. 

Those who are unable to meet Friday's deadline will still have until March 31, 2014, to enroll in a health insurance plan without facing a tax penalty.

RELATED: So you've signed up for health insurance. Now what?

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