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Administration eases off ObamaCare deadline, offers reprieve to those unable to get coverage

 

The Christmas Eve deadline to sign up for ObamaCare wasn't really a deadline after all.

The Obama admininstration announced late Tuesday that people unable to obtain coverage by midnight through Healthcare.gov might still be able to get insurance by Jan. 1. The announcement comes after the administration already pushed back the enrollment deadline by a day.

“Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to Healthcare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems that prevented you from finishing the process on time,” a post on Healthcare.gov said. “If this happened to you, don’t worry – we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as Jan. 1.”

The post tells consumers to contact the marketplace call center and explain that technical difficulties prevented them from getting covered under ObamaCare for the new year.

The ObamaCare rollout has been marked by a series of delays, both minor and major. Another, letting those whose plans were canceled sign up for bare-bones coverage, was announced right before the holiday break.

The administration claimed that the site was running well Monday afternoon, saying Healthcare.gov received a record 850,000 visits, five times the number logged by the same time last Monday. Bataille said the system was handling the volume with error rates of less than 1 in 200 and response times of less than one second.

Obama said on Friday that more than 1 million Americans had enrolled for coverage since Oct. 1. The administration's estimates call for 3.3 million to sign up by Dec. 31, and the target is 7 million by the end of March. After that, people who fail to buy coverage can face tax penalties.

Minnesota, one of the states running their own insurance exchanges, extended its Monday deadline to Dec. 31 amid problems with its website and extra-long hold times to reach its help center. Maryland pushed back its cutoff date to Dec. 27. New York extended its deadline to midnight Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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