The government on Monday gave people still hoping to obtain health-care coverage through ObamaCare on Jan. 1 an early Christmas present – an extra day to decide whether to sign up.
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The deadline for signing up was originally set for midnight on Dec. 23, but that’s been moved back 24 hours to midnight Dec. 24.
“We recognize that many have chosen to make their final decisions on today’s deadline and we are committed to making sure they can do so. Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for Jan 1.,” Julie Bataille, director of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of Communications, told FOX Business.
The last minute-tweak follows weeks of similar extensions as the Obama administration has dealt with fallout from the chaotic rollout of the president’s signature health-care reform legislation.
Just last week the administration said people whose plans were canceled due to more stringent coverage requirements established by the new law would receive an exemption from a key aspect of the law that required the uninsured to either buy coverage or pay a penalty tax next year.
The difficult rollout of the Affordable Care Act has undoubtedly left many unsure of their options and consequently reluctant to sign up. The 24-hour extension announced Monday is intended to give those people an extra day to sort out information and make a decision.
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Vishnu Lekraj, insurance analyst for Morningstar., said he expected enrollment will pick up before the March 31 deadline for obtaining coverage in 2014.
“Patterns of enrollment tend to pick up towards end of deadline date. It’s right before Christmas, so there will be people traveling, and they have other things on their mind. The younger folks don’t necessarily in their minds need coverage right at Jan. 1,” he said.
Enrollment has been disappointing, far below government’s initial predictions, hobbled by significant computer glitches to the Web site created for people to sign up. Only 365,000 people enrolled in October and November. On Friday, President Obama said during a press conference that 1 million more had enrolled in the first weeks of December.
The government had predicted 3.5 million enrollees by the end of the year.