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Deadline Approaches For Covered California Enrollment

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Deadline Approaches For Covered California

California leaders and health officials met at UC San Diego on Friday to urge people to sign up for health insurance.

The health insurance requirement is in its second year and enrollment for the state's health care exchange remains strong in the county, but leaders want to make sure everyone signs up before the Feb. 15 deadline.

San Diego resident Gabriela Parra said she was skeptical about switching health care plans and signing up with Covered California, the state's health care insurance exchange.

But now, she can see a doctor a couple of times a week to treat her daughter's asthma with only a $20 co-pay, she said.

Parra is one of the 28,000 San Diegans newly insured under Covered California.

Peter Lee, the executive director for Covered California, said San Diego has one of the strongest enrollments in the state. Nearly 10 percent of the people enrolled in the program come from San Diego county.

"What we're seeing is people getting the message, but there's still tens of thousands of San Diegans who are eligible for coverage who haven't stepped up and the biggest reason is they don't think they can afford coverage," Lee said. "They aren't kicking the tires to see that's how cheap it is because 90 percent of the people that sign-up are getting subsidies to bring the cost down."

For those who don't have health insurance, the tax penalty doubles next year. That means a person earning $40,000 could be fined up to $800 for non-coverage.

And a new series of videos airing on TV and social media will be another tool Covered California uses to ensure the word gets out.

"Whether you're young, Latino, African American, Chinese — we want every Californian in the door, which is why we're beating the drum over these last 10 days," Lee added.

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