Obamacare Deadline Extended Until Christmas Eve

Administration officials are allowing consumers who want Jan. 1 coverage more time, citing heavy traffic concerns.

A woman looks at the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange internet site October 1, 2013 in Washington, DC. US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is commonly called, passed in March 2010, went into effect Tuesday at 8am EST. Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new health insurance exchanges Tuesday morning. Consumers attempting to log on were met with an error message early Tuesday due to an overload of Internet traffic. AFP PHOTO / Karen BLEIER 
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Clara Ritger
Dec. 23, 2013, 12:44 p.m.

The dead­line to sign up for health in­sur­ance with cov­er­age be­gin­ning Jan. 1 has been ex­ten­ded to Dec. 24 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Con­sumers ori­gin­ally had un­til Dec. 23 at 11:59 EST to sign up. Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment of­fi­cials said they made the change in the Health­Care.gov sys­tem to al­low con­sumers more time, an­ti­cip­at­ing that heavy traffic could slow the pro­cess. The delay was first re­por­ted by The Wash­ing­ton Post.

The mes­sage com­ing from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, however, is that the dead­line is still Dec. 23 at 11:59 p.m. EST. When asked wheth­er con­sumers could start the pro­cess of sign­ing up for in­sur­ance on Health­Care.gov on Dec. 24, or if they had to be some­where in the ap­plic­a­tion to be al­lowed to com­plete it Tues­day, the Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices did not of­fer a com­ment.

“We re­cog­nize that many have chosen to make their fi­nal de­cisions on today’s dead­line and we are com­mit­ted to mak­ing sure they can do so,” said Ju­lie Ba­taille, a CMS spokes­wo­man, in an emailed state­ment. “An­ti­cip­at­ing high de­mand, which we in­deed saw start­ing early this morn­ing, and the fact that con­sumers may be en­rolling from mul­tiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who tried to en­roll today but had delays due to high traffic have a fail-safe.”

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