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Covered California: State tallies late numbers

Days after the official deadline, Covered California is working to sign people up for health care coverage.
December 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Days after the official deadline, Covered California is still working to sign people up to have health care coverage begin by January 1. That deadline was Monday, Dec. 23, and the exchange was overwhelmed with demand, and now they are trying to catch up.

Monday was a very busy day for Covered California. Officials say they were inundated both online and at the phone center with people trying to sign up for health care at the last minute.

The latest tally from Covered California shows 428,000 people have signed up for coverage. The state is now going through tens of thousands of applications that were started before Monday's deadline but not completed.

"They can only complete it now by calling the service center or going to a certified insurance agent or certified enrollment counselor to actually just walk them through, walk that application through to completion," said Dana Howard, a Covered California spokesman.

State officials admit there has been some confusion.

The Obama administration extended Monday's deadline for signing up for insurance in 36 states, but California, which runs its own plan, did not.

Covered California says now it's time to pay: Policies will not take effect simply because people enrolled for coverage by this past Monday's deadline. They need to pay the first month's premium to the insurance company they selected.

"The insurance companies are going to start sending out invoices," said Howard. "People should be getting them in the mail this week and next week. And then they're going to have until January 6th to get the payment back in to the insurance company."