The clock to sign up for Obamacare coverage that begins January 1 was supposed to run out at midnight on Monday, but administration officials have extended it 24 hours, through Christmas eve, according to the Washington Post. The Post reports that they did so without any public announcement of the change:
Over the weekend, government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change that automatically gives people a Jan. 1 start date for their new coverage as long as they enroll by 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Sources told the Post that the 24-hour extension has been built into the online system and is intended as a precaution in the event that the the problem-plagued website sees a surge of traffic from individuals looking to sign up at the last minute, and buckles under the weight.
The extension, said the sources, cannot be overridden by insurance companies if they object to it. It is the latest of several last-minute, ad hoc rule changes issued by the administration, including last week’s announcement that individuals whose insurance plans were canceled may receive an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.