Covered California extends deadline for Jan. 1 health plans

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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Californians caught in the log jam of consumers trying to complete their signups for health plans that take effect January 1 now have almost an extra week to finish up, according to the head of Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange.
Agency Executive Director Peter Lee announced at a Covered California board meeting Monday evening that those who had started the process on the exchange's website by Dec. 15 now have until Dec. 21 to complete their enrollment application.

The extension will also apply to those Californians who are in the process of switching from their existing 2014 plans into new 2015 plans. 

"We are providing this window to get people across the finish line," Lee said at the board meeting, the Los Angeles Times reported. "We know many of the people applying have never had insurance before, and these are individuals who need to sit down and talk with someone."

Covered California said 1.2 million Californians enrolled in health plans during the first open enrollment period, which ran from October 2013-April 2014.  In the current enrollment period, which began Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, the exchange hopes to sign up another 500,000 people.

The Affordable Care Act requires nearly every American have health insurance or face a tax penalty.