UPDATE: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.
Covered California announced Wednesday it is extending the deadline for enrolling for health insurance through the state exchange. Uninsured Californians looking for coverage to start on January 1 now have until midnight on December 17 - Saturday night - to sign up. Covered California says over 25,000 people enrolled in the past two days alone.
Just under 13,000 San Luis Obispo County residents are now insured through the state's health insurance exchange, Covered California. Across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, about 90 percent of those insured under Covered California receive monthly financial assistance to help pay the premiums on those plans.
The open enrollment period to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the state ends later this week, and Covered California says people are signing up in significant numbers despite the uncertain future of "Obamacare."
So far this week, about 11,000 Californians signed up under the program, says Covered California spokesperson James Scullary.
"Whatever happens, change will take time. And health care coverage through Covered California will remain intact through 2017. The financial assistance that is available will remain in place for 2017. And that’s what we know, we’re focused on the here and now at this point," Scullary said.
Uninsured Californians looking for health insurance coverage to start on January 1 will need to sign up by midnight on Thursday, December 15. Congressional republicans have vowed to begin repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in 2017.