FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --This is the final week for open enrollment in Covered California for anyone who does not have health insurance.
Health care sign-ups for the third year of Covered California wrap up on January 31 and this week is the last chance for those without coverage to register. "You will not be able to sign up until next year. You would be going an entire year without health coverage-- that's rolling the dice, that's a bad gamble," said Peter Lee, Executive Director Of Covered California.
Lee said there is plenty of help available to those who think they can't afford it. Lee said nine out of ten people who sign up for the affordable care act get financial help. About a third of those people are paying less than $50 a month for their health insurance. Penalties for not signing up start at $700. "But the other penalty is showing up at an ER and getting coverage, getting care that you are then walking out on the stick for forty grand in a payment to a hospital. That's the bigger penalty that we want people to avoid."
Lee adds that penalties have increased in the past two years but Californians are aware of the high price of not having insurance. "That penalty is because if you can afford health insurance but choose not to get it. We're all supporting that person when they go to the emergency room, they are not going to pay that entire bill because they can't."
Anyone looking for help on signing up for a health plan or for financial assistance can go to the Covered California website and click on the find help near me tab for trained agents here in the Central Valley.
And if you miss the January 31 deadline you are out of luck until the start of 2017.