Covered California won't extend deadlines for insurance plans

The Fresno BeeNovember 21, 2013 

The Covered California Board of Directors voted Thursday not to follow President Barack Obama's lead to extend deadlines for cancelled insurance plans.

The board voted unanimously not to allow insurance companies to extend Dec. 31 deadlines to discontinue plans that do not comply with Affordable Care Act Requirements in 2014.

The vote goes against President Barack Obama's call for extending cancelled policies for a year. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones had also called for an extension.

Covered California is the state's insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

But Californians will have a little longer to enroll in health plans for insurance coverage starting Jan. 1. The board voted to move the deadline for individuals to enroll in health plans from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23. The deadline for payments was extended from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.

The board also established a hot-line for people to call to resolve enrollment questions. The hotline, (855) 857-0445, will be available beginning Monday, Nov. 25.

People in the San Joaquin Valley are signing up for health plans through Covered California, according to numbers released Thursday at the board meeting in Sacramento.

In October, 1,851 people in counties from San Joaquin to Tulare enrolled in health plans. The majority -- 1,645 -- were not eligible for federal tax credits or federal subsidies.

During October, 8,381 people in the Valley applied for insurance through the state's marketplace.

As of Tuesday, Covered California had received 360,464 applications statewide and 79,891 people had selected health plans.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6310, banderson@fresnobee.com or @beehealthwriter on Twitter.

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