Enrollment deadline nearing for Covered California

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If you haven't signed up for health insurance, you still have time. Covered California has a special enrollment period, but you have to hurry, the deadline is April 30.

More than 100,000 Southern Californians have not signed up for health insurance. The problem is come tax time next year, they'll be facing a large tax penalty, much larger than this year.

"Now, it's $325 per adult in a household. That's the minimum or it could be two percent of your income, whichever is greater," said spokesman Dana Howard.

Two percent of your adjusted gross income can be substantial. For example, if your family made $70,000 for the year, two percent of that is $1,400, so paying for health insurance might actually be cheaper.

But there is still time to sign up and minimize your tax penalty but you must do so before April 30.

Signing up for health insurance is very simple. Visit http://www.coveredca.com or sign up through a certified insurance agent or counselor. They can't charge you a dime extra for helping you out.

"You're still going to have to pay the penalty from January through May, but what we say is that having five months of penalty sure beats 12 months," Howard said.

Besides the tax penalty, which is going to get even stiffer next year, there's a big risk just to go without health insurance. It's a risk that could cost you dearly.

"Emergency rooms [are] not going to play anymore. It's not a matter if somebody else is going to pick up the tab, they're going to lay that bill directly on you," Howard said. "You don't have any insurance, then here's your bill."

If you do sign up during this special enrollment period before April 30, coverage will start on June 1.

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healthhealth insurancecovered californiaconsumercalifornia
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