The Obama administration is again giving people more time to sign up for healthcare coverage for next year because of “extraordinary” demand, health officials announced late Thursday.
“The final days heading into the December 15 deadline were some of the busiest we’ve experienced at HealthCare.gov,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wrote in a statement.
Customers will now have two extra days — until midnight on Monday, Dec. 19 — to buy coverage that will go into effect on Jan 1. That will be the final date for uninsured people to sign up without being hit by a penalty next year.
Nearly 1 million people were still in the process of signing up for coverage at the end of Thursday, according to HHS.
“These two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage,” Kevin Counihan, CEO of HealthCare.gov, said in a statement.
The federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, will remain open until Jan. 31 for existing customers to shop around and swap plans.
The Obama administration is hoping for record healthcare signups in its final open enrollment period. It’s also the final signup period before Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE, an enemy of the healthcare law, will enter the White House with a GOP-controlled Congress.
Republicans are already drawing up plans to replace the law, which could be more difficult with more robust enrollment this year.
Even before the election, the insurance industry had already warned that this year’s enrollment period would be a crucial test to the survival of the still-shaky insurance exchanges.