Obamacare Deadline Extended One Day

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The deadline for signing up for Obamacare has been effectively extended by another day, the Obama administration said Monday.

The deadline had been Monday, Dec. 23 for people who want coverage by Jan. 1. People can now sign up through Tuesday, Dec. 24.

“Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for Jan 1,” said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is running the federal site, healthcare.gov.

At least one insurer was surprised by the last-minute extension. An Aetna spokeswoman said she had no knowledge of it and no additional comment.

There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the deadlines for applying for Obamacare — and with good reason. Federal and state governments, as well as insurers, keep changing the dates, mainly to accommodate those blocked from completing enrollment due to technical problems.

More than a million people have signed up for private insurance in the federal and state exchanges, President Obama said Friday. And exchanges are reporting heavy interest in recent days.

Each consumer faces two deadlines: One by which to choose a plan and another for making a payment.

Federal exchange: As of now, if you live in one of the 36 states serviced by the federal enrollment website, healthcare.gov, your best bet for getting hassle-free coverage in 2014 is to select a policy by end of the day on Tuesday and pay your first month’s premium by December 31.

But procrastinators and those running into technical roadblocks might get a short reprieve.

Federal officials said recently that individuals who try to sign up, but encounter a problem with the website, can qualify for a special enrollment period and gain coverage as soon as possible. The government is also “encouraging” insurers to allow people who miss the deadline to still be eligible for coverage starting Jan. 1, even if they sign up sometime in January.

When it comes to paying for a plan selected on healthcare.gov, the insurance industry trade group said last week that folks who pay by Jan. 10 can have coverage retroactive to the start of the year. But the group stressed that coverage doesn’t begin until the first payment is made. So people who wait until the 10th to pay might have to shell out for their initial medical care up front and file for reimbursement from their provider.

State exchanges: If you are applying in one of the 14 states running its own exchange, you may have a different set of deadlines.

Minnesota became the latest state to change its dates. Residents there have until Dec. 31 to pick a plan and have coverage start the next day, exchange officials said Friday. They have until Jan. 10 to pay.

Rhode Islanders also have until Dec. 31 to pick a plan and have coverage start the next day. But they have to pay their first premium by Jan. 6 and won’t receive an ID card until they do.

The change was made “to make sure more Rhode Islanders are able to have health care on January 1,” said Dara Chadwick, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island exchange. “There’s been a lot of confusion in the messaging.”

In Washington, residents who try to apply by Monday but run into problems have until Jan. 15 to pick and pay for a plan. Coverage will be retroactive to Jan. 1.

Other states have extended either the deadline to choose a plan or to pay the premium. Oregon and Maryland pushed back the deadline to pick a policy to Dec. 27, with one Maryland insurer giving applicants until Dec. 31.

Consumers in Maryland and Oregon have until Jan. 15 to pay, while California is giving residents until Jan. 6, Vermont until January and Connecticut until Jan. 10.

Regardless of where you live, you should call your insurer of choice to check its deadlines and, after you pay, check your enrollment status.

For those who miss the deadline altogether, don’t worry. You can still get coverage starting Feb. 1 if you pick a plan by January 15 and pay by the end of January.

Open enrollment ends March 31. The uninsured must pick a plan by then to avoid a penalty. These procrastinators would see coverage start May 1.

12 comments

  • Sylvia

    definitely NOT fixed! I have been trying to enroll for a week now, online and by phone, neither has worked because every time I get “technical difficulties” or the person on the phone just doesn’t know what they’re doing. How can they have this deadline when we can’t get in?!

    • SoSueMe

      Did you vote for Obama? If so, stop your whining. You all get what you deserve. lm@o.

      To all you people who voted for Obama and lost your health insurance, how’s that koolaid tasting now? Ha ha

      • blt

        Of course you will have something to say. You remind me of this other female that use to be on here not to long ago. She just might be you. Do not forget that all will have to answer one day to the Lord and time is winding up. So just make sure your household is straight before you leave this world. I pray that you have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

      • Mark

        Sue, get over it. That excuse is wore out (voting for him). Whether she voted for him or not we’re all in the same boat. We can bail together or sink together.

        The question with purpose NOT is, what party will she vote for next time? (it’ll be same parties, different promises, different lies).

  • Jujubean

    Lol I had to check out the site the healthcare available is not very affordable. Ask Elvis Duran for some money- keeping another NYC jock rich.

  • jim

    hey fox 8 how about doing a story about all of the people getting screwed because of this, or maybe you guys can get staci fry to try the website on the air again, I could use another good laugh. the look on her face was priceless when it didn’t work. how about giving both sides of the story u shills.

  • Carmen

    its not fixed and its not working. I cant even get back on the website now, its so busy. The site doesnt “save” my changes and wont let me past a certain point, and wont tell me why or whats needed. VERY FRUSTRATING!

  • Bill

    Fox8, how about doing a story about how NOT so affordable Obamacare is. With the outrageous deductibles and copays.

    • Steve

      Yep. The government has given control to the insurance agencies that jumped on board to set the rates. That to me is like letting the drug lords set the drug rates – oh, wait, pharmaceutical companies do that!

      I saw some politician on the news today who had a extremely valid point – leave this mess in flux til 2015, not 2014. It’ll let the bugs be worked out, everyone to sign up, somewhere in there hopefully the fiasco of things going wrong tapering off… and, oh yeah, the biggie – with more having “bought into it” (not that you have a choice, so forced into it), the rates SHOULD be lower… but then again, we are trusting the insurance companies to be fair and equitable.

      What a joke.

      Healthcare was driving this nation broke. Now healthcare and insurance companies are holding hands. Sorta reminds me of unions and… oh, forget it.

  • Steve

    since the republicans couldn’t get this overthrown, I wonder if it’s time to do a class action lawsuit?

    Then again, the penalties for not having the insurance are nothing compared to what the insurance is going to cost you.

Comments are closed.