Also known as “welcome to yet another Affordable Care Act delay.” Via The Hill:
The Obama administration will extend the March 31 open enrollment deadline for people who say they tried to sign-up for coverage on the new healthcare exchanges but failed to complete the process on time.
“Open enrollment ends March 31,” Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters told The Hill in an email Tuesday evening. “We are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment – either online or over the phone.”
Those that try to sign up, but miss the March 31 deadline, can appeal for an extension that will allow them to complete the enrollment process into mid-April.
The Washington Post first reported the planned rule change, which federal officials will announce on Wednesday.
The administration did something similar at the end of 2013, when a flood of consumers sought last-minute coverage for the New Year. Back then, the website’s functionality was still in question, and there were fears that HealthCare.gov might not be able to accommodate the surge in traffic.
This go-round, the administration is seeking to accommodate those “with special circumstances and complex cases,” that might otherwise have to pay the penalty associated with the individual mandate because they missed the deadline.
Sure they are. Uh huh.
What this is really all about is trying to up their numbers count on enrollees considering to date they are lagging considerably off their goals not only in terms of total enrollment numbers (and by “enrollment” I mean actually have signed up and paid their first premium) but also on crucial youth enrollment as well.
How much do you want to bet that in a couple of weeks we’ll be hearing about yet another delay for these same reasons (though unstated publicly)? Oh well. Add it to the list.