Authorities are reminding Californians without health insurance they have less than a week to sign up for it and avoid a tax penalty.

Originally, the deadline for getting coverage through the state's first open enrollment period was March 31. However, a flood of interest in low-cost insurance through Covered California caused the system's website and phone lines to jam.

To compensate for the technical issues, Covered California is allowing consumers until April 15 to apply for health coverage starting May 1.

However, consumers must explain that they were unable to get through to the state health exchange on March 31 in order to qualify for the extension.



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