First day of open enrollment for Covered California - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

First day of open enrollment for Covered California

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Open enrollment began Saturday for health insurance through Covered California. After a rough start last year, the health exchange is hoping for a smoother process this year.

Inside the 211 call center, dispatchers are assisting San Diegans with questions about signing up for health insurance through Covered California.

“A lot of people wonder what is it gonna cost, which plan should I pick. A lot of people have never had health insurance depending on copay. They have a lot of questions,” said John Ohanian the CEO of 211 San Diego.

Ohanian says they're offering a new program this year called 2enrollme. All you have to do is log on to 211sandiego.org and a specialist will call you and enroll you over the phone.

“The estimate is there are 200,000 individuals in San Diego County that are likely eligible for Covered California that are not on program,” added Ohanian.

Statewide there are more than 1 million who qualify for subsidized care but haven't signed up, according to Covered California.

Earlier this week, the organization made a stop in San Diego as part of a nine day bus tour to help get the word out and to encourage those who aren't insured to get coverage

Executive Director Peter Lee says steps have been taken to make enrollment easier this year:

“We've expanded the pipes, that's a technical term, to actually enable the computer system to handle higher volume. We're hiring more people to answer the phone, but more than that, we've reached out to develop more ways that people can enroll in their community.”

And, 211 partnering with Covered California, added additional staff this year to help. Open enrollment continues through February 15. But for coverage starting the first of the New Year, the deadline to sign up is December 15.

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