2 more days for Obamacare signup

The window for health care coverage to begin Jan. 1 has been extended by two days, to Dec. 17, Covered California announced.

Health insurance deadlineThe move came Tuesday night, almost immediately after the federal Obamacare website announced its own extension.

Covered California said agents still were “processing thousands of applications” as the Dec. 15 deadline loomed. Consumers also were complaining about failed access to the Covered California web site.

“We want to make sure everyone calling for coverage gets the help they need,” Covered California chief Peter Lee said.

Covered California also extended its service center hours to midnight Tuesday to accommodate the crush. The center will operate 8 a.m.-8 p.m. the following two days.

“The spike in interest we are seeing in the last few days tells us there is continued demand for quality, affordable coverage,” Lee said. “We already have enrolled more consumers this year for Jan. 1 coverage than we did last year.”

Covered California said Monday that more than 140,000 consumers had enrolled in coverage by the end of Sunday, Dec. 13.

Open enrollment continues through the end of January. Consumers who enroll after Dec. 17, however, will have their coverage start in either February or March. Penalties for not having qualifying health insurance — the so-called “shared responsibility” fine — continue to increase, according to plan.

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