Affordable Care Act: Enroll now for health insurance through Covered California

Don’t be surprised when you receive an announcement from your employer during the beginning of October announcing the launch of the Affordable Care Act, called Covered California in our state.

Employers are required to notify all employees that they may enroll in a health care exchange. This is a mandated announcement and does not mean that current medical insurance coverage you may have through your employer will be suspended or replaced.

If you are uninsured, work part-time, or your hours of employment have been reduced, Covered California may provide you the option to purchase reduced-rate health insurance. The initial open enrollment period begins October 1 and lasts six months.

Key dates for enrollment

October 1, 2013  Initial open enrollment opens.

October 1, 2013  Employers must notify employees that they may enroll in an exchange.

December 7, 2013  The last day to enroll to ensure that your health insurance coverage will begin on January 1, 2014  If you enroll after December 7, the effective date will be delayed until February 1, and enrollment after January 7 delays coverage until March 1.

March 31, 2014  Initial open enrollment ends.

October-December in subsequent years  Open enrollment.

Terminology and tips

Exchange: An exchange is where you enroll for the Affordable Care Act and choose among health insurance plan options. These will soon be renamed “marketplaces.”

Navigator: A California trained and certified professional who will be available to assist you, determine your eligibility and possible subsidies you may receive. You can reach a navigator by calling the toll-free number, 888-975-1142.

About enrolling online:  The state-sanctioned website,, will be mentioned in the notification letter you receive from your employer. This is very important — is the only state-sanctioned site. Even though the name of the California program is Covered California — the website by that name is a copycat site and is not state-sanctioned. Always go to

Enrollment preparation: It may take you about a half hour to enroll online. Have key employment documents (W2 statement and paystubs) and personal information (Social Security number) close at hand so you can provide the information requested.


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