California’s health benefits exchange is pushing ahead with efforts to enroll more of the uninsured and to convince more than a million existing patients to renew their policies. It all must be done by Sunday so coverage can begin in the new year.
Executive Director Peter Lee says Covered California has extended the deadline to enroll or renew coverage starting January 1 from this past Monday to this coming Sunday, December 21:
“We are doing this not because the IT systems are slow – the systems are working great. People are getting through and enrolling. But insurance is confusing. We want to give them the opportunity to address their questions in person or on the phone and get signed up,” Lee says.
Nearly 150,000 uninsured Californians have enrolled so far – and half of them paid their first month’s premium immediately.
The exchange is also working with more than a million people who currently use Covered California to renew their plans – or pick new ones. They, too, have until Sunday to decide on a plan.
Due dates for payments are a bit more nuanced. “The original date for payments was December 26 and that remains for those with invoices stating that,” says Covered California spokesman Roy Kennedy. “However we know with the date pushed back to December 21 some people won’t pick a plan up until that date. For those consumers we’re telling them to pay close attention to the invoice they get from the carrier because it will have a payment deadline noted. Once they get the invoice they should send payment as soon as they can.”
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