April 15 is the new deadline to finish Obamacare health insurance applications, administration officials announced Thursday.
“For those in line on the 31st, we encourage consumers to finish the process as soon as possible,” Alicia Hartinger, spokeswoman at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in an email. “They must complete their enrollment by no later than the 15th for coverage this year.”
The extended sign-up time frame has made insurance companies nervous, as they fear a loose deadline will allow more customers to wait until their health expenses are higher.
But the administration granted some consumers more time to sign up for coverage due to high traffic on HealthCare.gov during the days leading up to the broader March 31 deadline. Some were put in a queue or asked to come back later when there were fewer people trying to get their applications through the system. The federal online exchange fielded more than 3 million visits on March 31.
Some people will qualify for extra time to enroll beyond the April 15 cut-off. According to guidance posted on HealthCare.gov, people who continue to have trouble with their applications qualify for a “special enrollment period” that could allow them up to 60 days to sign up after the event.
And qualifying life events — such as losing a job, getting married, or having a baby — allow Americans to sign up for health insurance outside of the open enrollment period. Low-income and disabled persons who qualify for Medicaid can also enroll at any time.
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Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape, on which Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, "Senate Republicans have seen their fortunes dip, particularly in states like Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania," where Hillary Clinton now leads. Jennifer Duffy writes that she now expects Democrats to gain five to seven seats—enough to regain control of the chamber.
"Of the Senate seats in the Toss Up column, Trump only leads in Indiana and Missouri where both Republicans are running a few points behind him. ... History shows that races in the Toss Up column never split down the middle; one party tends to win the lion’s share of them."
"Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans―Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother―contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. Trump is so terrible, these Republicans are essentially arguing, that tying them to him amounts to defamation."
Former Illinois GOP Congressman Aaron Schock "recently agreed to pay a $10,000 fine for making an excessive solicitation for a super PAC that was active in his home state of Illinois four years ago." Schock resigned from Congress after a story about his Downton Abbey-themed congressional office raised questions about how he was using taxpayer dollars.
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."