474,000 sign up via Covered Calif.

Nearly 474,000 consumers signed up for private health insurance via the Covered California program, officials said as the second enrollment period closed.

obamacare business delay to 2015More than 36,000 enrolled on Sunday, Feb. 15, the final day for signups. That’s the biggest enrollment seen for any single day since the signups for 2015 on Nov. 15.

“With this surge in momentum, we expect more than 500,000 people will enroll in a health plan through Covered California during this open-enrollment period,” Covered California chief Peter Lee said.

That number leaves Covered California short of its enrollment goal for 2015, which had been put at 1.7 million total consumers. That included renewals from the 2014 campaign. Lee had said his group was “quite confident” of making the goal.

The total was roughly 1.4 million counting the 474,000 enrollees — but signups aren’t over:

Officials for the state’s Obamacare operation extended the deadline twice. People who in some way began the signup process were extended until Feb. 22, but they must use official representatives or agents to complete the process. (That new deadline was extended by two days to match the federal Obamacare extension in the 37 states it covers.)

Another extension has been granted to those who say they failed to understand the tax implications of not having health-care insurance.

Consumers with existing Covered California-sold policies were renewed automatically.

“If you don’t enroll, it’s possible you won’t be able to get insurance until 2016, because you can only enroll after that time if you have a specific qualifying condition or qualify for Medi-Cal,” Lee said.

More than 779,000 consumers enrolled in Medi-Cal from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. Medi-Cal enrollment continues year-round, however.

Nationally, 11.4 million consumers have purchased Obamacare policies for 2015. That includes the individual state numbers and the 8.2 million who signed up via the federal government’s much-criticized online system, which made a comeback after a disastrous 2014.

“The Affordable Care Act is working,” President Obama said while announcing the numbers. “It’s working a little better than we anticipated; certainly a lot better than many of the critics talked about early on.”

The federal government topped its goal of as many as 10 million participants in Obamacare.

“It gives you some sense of how hungry people were out there for affordable, accessible health insurance,” the president said.

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