The Covered California exchange announced the special two-month enrollment period, starting Thursday, to address confusion about the sign-up rules.
The state exchange said the information on its coveredca.com website wasn't clear for people who have lost a job and held on to their employer health plan through COBRA, a federal law known as the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.
That makes COBRA coverage fairly expensive for people, particularly those who were laid off and might be unemployed for some time.
The Affordable Care Act offers new options for those people in the individual insurance market. The federal law guarantees coverage regardless of preexisting conditions and provides premium subsidies based on a person's income.
But open enrollment under the health law closed last month and doesn't reopen until November.
Thursday, Covered California clarified that people with COBRA coverage do qualify for special enrollment through July 15.
"For many people the cost of a Covered California product will be substantially less," Lee said. "We want to make sure people on COBRA know this is an option. We had an IT glitch that didn't make it clear."
Special enrollment is also extended to people with other "qualifying life events" such as getting married, having a child or moving to a new area.