|By Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star, Calif.|
|Tribune Content Agency|
Dec. 07–Covered California’s first deadline falls at the stroke of midnight Dec. 15.
People who meet the cutoff and enroll in a health insurance plan will have coverage effective New Year’s Day. People who are already insured through Covered California but changing plans should have seamless coverage if they act before midnight.
People who instead follow Cinderella’s lead will have to enroll by Jan. 15 to have coverage that begins Feb. 1. People who don’t enroll by Feb. 15, the end of open enrollment, could have to wait another year.
A so-called passive renewal system means people who want to stay in their existing plan without changes don’t have to do anything.
Covered California is the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Leaders of the program predict 500,000 people will enroll this year, joining the 1.2 million people who signed up during the first enrollment season that began last year.
Deadlines in the first go-round brought a tsunami of last-minute sign ups, triggering marathon duels with automated phone systems and website snarls that pushed more people to the phones.
Covered California leaders are not predicting a headache-free cruise through the deadline this time around. But they think things will be better.
“We expect a lot of people to wait for the last minute to come in,” said spokesmanRoy Kennedy. “We expect Dec. 14-15 to be heavy periods of enrollment.”
People who want coverage on Jan. 1 need to act by midnight Dec. 15 unless they’re staying in their existing plans. For more information go towww.coveredca.com or try the following: