As hundreds of thousands of Californians try to get enrolled in the new health insurance options and benefits today, Covered California announced that those who tried to sign-up today have option for a grace period from now through April 15th to complete their application. So far, over 1.2 million Californians have now selected a plan through Covered California, the new state health care marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.
No Californian who tried to enroll should be frozen out of coverage, so this additional consideration is appreciated and necessary. All Californians have an interest to get as many people covered as possible, so our state is healthier and more financially secure, and we draw down federal dollars into our health system and economy. When there’s a long line at the voting booth at closing time, a judge usually keeps the polling place open until everyone online gets a chance to vote. By the same token, folks who tried today but faced system issues should be given another opportunity.
Even without the grace period, Californians are not just beating the goals set for the end of March and the first open enrollment period, but to surpass the goals set for the second open enrollment period at the end of the year. Even with these big numbers enrolling, we fear more Californians who were discouraged by long line, a slow or stalled website system, or a inordinate call center wait time–and they deserve a two week grace period to try again to finish the process. Most of these over one million Californians in Covered California are newly covered or have coverage that is cheaper or better than what they had before. Since California had one of the worst rates of uninsurance in the nation, there’s no shock that there’s a great demand for these new coverage options and benefits.