18K Californians Sign Up During Special Enrollment Period
On Tuesday, Covered California officials announced that more than 18,000 Californians have signed up for health insurance through the state's exchange since its special enrollment period started Feb. 23, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In total, about 1.4 million Californians have enrolled in coverage through the exchange since it launched (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
In February, Covered California launched a special enrollment period for individuals who were not aware of the tax penalty for remaining uninsured. Eligible consumers who wish to sign up during the period must indicate on their applications that they were unaware of the tax penalty for foregoing health insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, U.S. residents who did not have health coverage in 2014 must pay $95 or 1% of their incomes, whichever is higher, as they file their 2014 taxes. The penalties will increase to $325 or 2% of individuals' incomes, whichever is higher, for those who do not have insurance in 2015.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said that up to 600,000 Californians could face such penalties. The extension will not exempt individuals from 2014 penalties, but it can help them avoid larger penalties that begin in 2015.
The special enrollment period ends April 30 (California Healthline, 2/23).
Final Push for Sign-Ups
In conjunction with the announcement of special enrollment numbers, Covered California on Tuesday also launched a final push to encourage consumers to sign up for coverage, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
According to the Business Journal, the exchange aims to reach out to Californians through a partnership with:
- The California Tax Education Council;
- H&R Block; and
"The ACA created a new connection between health coverage and taxes," Lee said (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/8). He added, "Some people are just now discovering that being uninsured can be an expensive proposition" (Los Angeles Times, 4/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.