Last Thursday, federal officials announced the extension of the open enrollment period, but it’s nearly over.
On Thursday night, federal officials announced an extension to the health insurance enrollment period. This gave consumers until today to sign up for health plans that would start their coverage on January 1. The extension will continue at the Affordable Care Act marketplaces until tonight at midnight.
This lengthening of the period in which consumers could sign up is the second consecutive year this has happened.
Last year, federal officials granted an extension to the health insurance enrollment period, as well. It meant that people would have a few extra days beyond the December 15 deadline in which to buy the coverage they need under Obamacare.
Chief Executive of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace within the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Kevin Counihan, explained the choice to apply the extension. Counihan said there was a “extraordinary volume of consumers” communicating with federal call centers or using the HealthCare.gov website at the last moment. This suggested a continued last minute interest in shopping for plans on the federal health insurance exchange.
As there were still very large numbers of people pursuing health insurance enrollment, the extension was proviCounihan’s statement pointed out that some consumers were complying to a request to wait before speaking with a phone rep or logging onto the insurance exchange. He also said almost 1 million Americans were lined up in a virtual waiting line after providing their contact information.
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The extension over the weekend and until midnight tonight provides those consumers with the opportunity to complete their health plan enrollment without missing the deadline.
While the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period does continue until the end of January 2017, anyone who wants their coverage to begin at the start of the new year will need to have signed up by tonight. Missing this deadline could lead to a waiting period before coverage begins.
The Obama administration officials have forecasted that in 2017, there will be just over 11 million people with health insurance enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans.