Covered California extends enrollment deadline due to confusion

ByKatie Utehs KGO logo
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Covered California extends enrollment deadline
A federal judge's ruling in Texas has created uncertainty regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act. Now, the deadline to enroll for Obamacare is being extended.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A federal judge's ruling in Texas has created uncertainty regarding the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Late Friday the judge ruled the healthcare law unconstitutional. As a result, Saturday evening California's health insurance marketplace, Covered California, extended the deadline to enroll for Jan. 1 coverage.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare, was President Obama's signature piece of legislation. It protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health insurance.

REALTED: Federal judge in Texas declares Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

The sweeping law required people carry health insurance. But, late Friday night U.S. District Judge Reed Conner of Texas ruled the health care law unconstitutional following changes related to the recent tax bill.

President Trump told reporters, "It was a big ruling. A great ruling for our country. We'll be able to get great healthcare. We'll sit down with the democrats if the Supreme Court upholds."

What healthcare would look like without the ACA is up for debate says Representative Jackie Speier, D-CA 14th District.

"It's reading between the lines. Sure, coverage for pre-existing conditions will be available, but at what cost? Right now under the Affordable Care Act you cannot discriminate against anyone for a pre-existing condition," said Rep. Speier.

As politicians battle it out over the ACA California's healthcare market place, Covered California, is extending its enrollment deadline.

"To eliminate any potential confusion from the Texas court ruling we're going to be giving consumers more time to enroll for January first coverage," said James Scullary, Covered California spokesman.

Saturday, Dec. 15, at midnight was the deadline to enroll for coverage to start on January 1st. Now you have until next Friday, December 21st to enroll for first of the year coverage. The hard deadline of January 15th still exists for coverage to start by February 1st.

RELATED: A Texas lawsuit being heard this week could mean life or death for Obamacare

In 44 other states enrollment closes on Saturday, but California is one of seven health insurance marketplaces with an extended enrollment period.

California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra is among a coalition of state attorney generals who have vowed to fight the ruling. The case could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The high court upheld the ACA in 2012 and again in 2015. Congress modified the law just last year. Change, if any, to the ACA is not likely to happen soon.

"We're telling folks that they should not be discouraged or dissuaded from checking out their options, from finding out if they are eligible for financial help," said Scullary.

According to Covered California around 58,000 people have signed up for coverage since Monday, with 12,000 of them enrolling Thursday and 17,000 on Friday.