Dr. Raul Coimbra (left), Dr. Jeff Rideout, Peter V. Lee and Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins at UCSD Medical Center. Photo by Chris Jennewein

With 10 days left to sign up for health insurance in 2015 under Obamacare, health officials gathered at UCSD Medial Center to urge San Diegans to enroll for their health.

“The need to get everyone insured is critical,” said Dr. Raul Coimbra, the hospital’s surgeon-in-chief. “As a physician and a parent, I know the importance of having insurance.”

Coimbra joined Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s exchange for purchasing insurance under the Affordable Care Act, which requires every American to have health insurance.

Lee praised San Diego County for being in the forefront of enrollment statewide, and reminded residents that they will face a penalty on their taxes if they aren’t insured. But he noted there are potentially worse outcomes than a tax penalty.

“The far worse penalty is not having an early diagnosis of cancer,” he said.

A total of 122,000 people in San Diego bought insurance under the act in 2014, and so far for 2015, an additional 28,000 have signed up.

Nick Macchione, director of the county Health and Human Services Agency, said the focus is on getting insured, but the real value of that is on having access to health care.

“If you really love someone, then get them covered,” he said.

You can sign up online for coverage and potential tax benefits with Covered California, and the county’s 2-1-1 service can provide help answering questions and completing forms.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.