By Elise Viebeck - 10/28/13 09:30 PM EDT
The Obama administration officially delayed the sign-up date for ObamaCare coverage by six weeks in guidance published Monday.
The move was previewed in an announcement last week as the White House faced criticism over the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov.
The healthcare law requires that people have health insurance by March 31, 2014, or face fines.
This created a misalignment that the administration clarified on Monday, stating that anyone who signs up by March 31 would not face a penalty.
The administration "has determined that it would be unfair to require individuals in this situation to make a [penalty] payment," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said.
The change comes as the online enrollment portal for ObamaCare coverage continues to face serious problems.
Federal health officials are rushing to fix the site before it creates a drag on enrollment.
Former White House budget director Jeff Zients, who was appointed to oversee the repair effort, said last week that the system would be fully functional by Nov. 30.