Covered California Bus Tour Leaves Capitol

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They left the Capitol fired up.

Before 9 a.m. Monday, community members and business owners packed a Covered California tour bus for a nine-day adventure.

Their goal is to get as many uninsured Californians, who qualify, to sign up for affordable health care.

“California made history last year with the first ever open enrollment. We have to do it again because there are 3.2 million Californians still without insurance we can sign up,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said.

While the national program faced technical and political problems earlier this year, Covered California managed to enroll 1.2 million residents in health care plans.

The group is also reminding residents they will be penalized for not having health insurance.

Penalties will apply when when residents fill out their 2014 tax forms.

Those who fail to sign up for health care in 2015 will be charged double what they were charged in 2014.

“A penalty could be as much as $1,000 for a big family, but the real penalty is showing up in an emergency room not being able to get the care you need or walking out with a $400,000 debt,” Lee said.

The tour will hit more than 20 cities across the state as part of Covered California’s $95 million outreach campaign.

The exchange expects to increase enrollment to 1.7 million residents by February 2015.

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