The Obama administration on Tuesday pledged to accommodate ObamaCare applicants who failed to meet the Christmas Eve deadline for enrollment because of issues with the website.
“If you weren’t able to enroll in an insurance plan by Dec. 23 because of problems you had using HealthCare.gov, you still may be able to get coverage that starts Jan. 1,” a message on HealthCare.gov reads. “Even though we have passed the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1, we don’t want you to miss out if you’ve been trying to enroll.”
“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,” the message continues. “If this happened to you, don’t worry — we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as Jan. 1.”
Monday was supposed to be the cutoff date for obtaining insurance coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1, but in the latest delay to the law, the administration said people who have begun the enrollment process would have an extra day to complete it.
Now officials say there’s even more flexibility on the timeline for people who have had trouble enrolling.
Julia Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in an email on Tuesday that consumers who tried and failed to get in before the deadline could contact the call center to petition for leniency.
“We have developed a robust casework process to address individual inquiries, respond to specific situations, and help consumers transition to new coverage,” she said. “Consumers will hear directly from their health plan about the date their coverage is effective.”
Millions of consumers are flooding the online federal healthcare portal ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to purchase insurance that would be effective on Jan. 1, according to the Obama administration.
HealthCare.gov set a record for Internet traffic on Monday, with nearly 2 million people visiting the site and an additional quarter of a million phoning the call centers, according to the administration’s Twitter account.
An additional 1 million visited the site, and 200,000 called in over the weekend.
Tuesday’s announcement isn’t technically a deadline delay. It is a “special enrollment period” for applicants who have experienced technical difficulties that was built into the Affordable Care Act but hasn’t been widely touted by the Obama administration.
Still, Tuesday’s accommodation is further evidence the administration is under pressure to make sure that everyone who thinks he or she purchased a plan has insurance by Jan. 1.