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Covered California Health Care Enrollment Deadline Looms

Covered California is the state's online health insurance exchange.

Credit: Covered California

Above: Covered California is the state's online health insurance exchange.

The fifth annual open enrollment period for Covered California health care ends at midnight Wednesday.

People who fail to sign up for a plan by the deadline will have to pay a tax penalty of at least 2.5 percent of their annual household income.

The recently-passed federal tax reform bill eliminated the penalty. But that change doesn’t take effect until 2019.

A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed more than half of consumers eligible for subsidized coverage could buy a plan for less than the cost of the penalty.

Covered California officials say the vast majority of people who sign up through the exchange get a subsidy. And because the subsidies have increased, most consumers are actually paying lower premiums than they did last year.

The exchange reports as of Jan. 22, more than 340,000 new consumers had signed up for health insurance through Covered California. In addition, more than 1.2 million current Covered California members have renewed their coverage for 2018.

The fifth annual open enrollment period for Covered California health care ends at midnight Wednesday.

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