By Elise Viebeck - 11/22/13 10:40 AM EST
The Obama administration is planning to delay ObamaCare's second-year enrollment period until after the 2014 elections.
The move, which the White House confirmed on Friday afternoon, will help distance the sign-up period from the Nov. 4 midterms, which Democrats fear will become a referendum on ObamaCare's botched rollout.
The decision could also set the stage for the administration to extend ObamaCare's current sign-up period amid ongoing problems with the federal enrollment website.
Officials have struggled to repair HealthCare.gov despite President Obama's promise that the site would work well for most people by Nov. 30.
Republicans decried the political calculations that they said were behind the move.
“This is clearly a cynical political move by the Obama administration to use extra-regulatory, by any means necessary tools to keep this program afloat and hide key information from voters,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement.
“The Obama administration ought to answer for this shift," he said. "The administration is welcome to prove me wrong by committing to put out 2015 plan year premium rates by November 1, 2014.”
The shift in enrollment dates is the just the latest adjustment to the healthcare law.
President Obama recently announced that insurers could continue offering canceled health plans for an additional year, a move to quell the firestorm over his promise that people could keep their health plans.
Employers will also not have to comply with the mandate that they provide health insurance until 2015, one year after their original deadline.
A delay in ObamaCare's second sign-up period would allow insurance companies an additional month to determine their 2015 rates on the exchanges.
Companies will make their determinations by reviewing enrollments from ObamaCare's first year; many worry that not enough young, healthy people will sign up to keep premiums stable.
The 2014 sign-up period was originally scheduled to run from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. It will now last from Nov. 15 to Jan. 15, 2015, giving consumers an additional week to review their options.
The story was originally reported by Bloomberg News.
This story was posted at 10:40 a.m. and last updated at 1:37 p.m.