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Californians have until January 31, 2016 (Sunday) to obtain health insurance. At least that was the deadline until Friday (January 29) when Covered California extended enrollment until midnight February 6. There is a catch. To take advantage of the extended deadline you must have started the enrollment process by midnight on January 31. If so, you will have an addition few days to complete the enrollment process.

The open enrollment period for 2016 began on November 1, 2015, and was scheduled to end on January 31, 2016. So far, about 329,000 new enrollees have signed up for health coverage, and about 148,000 new or existing enrollees have signed up for the new optional family dental coverage. But with a large number of persons beginning the enrollment process in the last few days, Covered California officials have decided that they want to give these last-minute applicants an opportunity to complete their applications. Hence the deadline extension.

To be eligible for the extension you must have started the process by midnight on Sunday, January 31, and you must then complete your enrollment by midnight, February 6, by working with a Certified Insurance Agent, a Certified Enrollment Counsellor, a Certified Plan-Based Enroller, or a Service Center representative at Covered California. Alex Pfeifer, of Pfeifer Insurance Brokers, is a Covered California Certified Insurance Agent.

Persons who fail to obtain insurance coverage in 2016 will pay a tax penalty, called a Shared Responsibility Payment, in connection with their 2016 tax filing. The penalty will be calculated as the higher of (a) 2.5 percent of household income with a maximum equal to the total annual premium for the national average Bronze plan premium, and (b) $695 per adult plus $347.50 per child under 18 with a maximum equal to $2,085.

Subsidies for payment of premiums are available to the vast majority of current enrollees. In fact, nearly nine in ten Covered California enrollees have received some level of federal assistance. Moreover, Covered California reports that 670,000 enrollees in 2015 paid less than $100 per month for their health coverage, and 350,000 persons paid less than $50 per month.

If you are one of those late shoppers who have not yet enrolled, please take action now.

For help in enrollment with Covered California, or for prompt, courteous and knowledgeable assistance for all of your insurance needs -- health, life, home, auto or commercial -- please contact Pfeifer Insurance Brokers.

Alex Pfeifer
Pfeifer Insurance Brokers
650 762-8070

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