Santa Clara County has announced that the 2018 open enrollment period for residents to register for Covered California health insurance is underway.
The enrollment period, which started on Nov. 1 and lasts through Jan. 31, 2018, allows for individuals to apply for health insurance through state-sponsored programs through the Affordable Care Act.
The county said that more than 59,000 Santa Clara County residents renewed qualified health insurance plans during last year's enrollment period and the county wants to make this year's process is as easy as possible for the 8 percent of county residents who are uninsured.
"We want to maximize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for our residents," said Santa Clara County Health System Director Rene Santiago in a statement. "Despite the talk in Washington of repealing or replacing it, the Affordable Care Act is alive and well in our community. We are committed to reaching out to our diverse community to make sure they know that programs are available to help cover potential health insurance costs."
Those wishing to register for health insurance before the New Year starts must do so by Dec. 15 to avoid any potential future tax penalties, county officials said.
About 4 million people in the state have health coverage through Covered California.
Santa Clara County has one commercial health plan that is based in the county, Valley Health Plan.
"Valley Health Plan is the only locally-based commercial health plan in our county," Bruce Butler, CEO of Valley Health Plan said in a statement. "We are dedicated to helping families find the right services and essential health benefits."
Residents looking to enroll can visit www.CoveredCA.com or contact VHP's patient access department to enroll in person by calling 866-967-4677.
The county reminds residents that Medi-Cal, a free health insurance to those who qualify with low incomes, is available year-round and that children in low-income families are eligible for it regardless of immigration status. About 330,000 residents currently receive Medi-Cal benefits, according to county officials.