Covered California gives procrastinators a break on signup deadline

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The third open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act comes to a close this weekend, but Covered California officials says anyone who starts the process before Sunday’s deadline will earn another week to finish up. 

The state's health insurance marketplace has provided similar extensions during past open enrollment periods. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says the goal this time around is to keep shoppers from getting tangled up in the surge of last-minute enrollment. 

To that end, Lee says, anyone who starts the sign-up process by the original deadline – Sunday at midnight – will now have until Feb. 6 at midnight to finish.

Those who still need to sign up for health coverage can do so through an insurance broker, on Covered California’s website or at any number of enrollment events this weekend, including one Sunday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health coverage, except for those who qualify for an exemption. Those who are not exempt and still go without insurance will face an increased tax penalty in 2016.

Covered California has sent out teams into neighborhoods with low enrollment rates across the state in a last-minute effort to boost signups.