The Obama administration has once again extended the deadline to sign up for health-care coverage that begins in the new year. Administration officials on Tuesday announced a “special enrollment period” for people who could show they missed Tuesday night’s 11:59 p.m. deadline because of problems with the HealthCare.gov website.
The New York Times reports that visitors to the website were greeted with the following message: “If you weren’t able to enroll in an insurance plan by Dec. 23 because of problems you had using HealthCare.gov, you still may be able to get coverage that starts Jan. 1. Even though we have passed the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1, we don’t want you to miss out if you’ve been trying to enroll.”
The administration said HealthCare.gov was flooded with traffic on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, with approximately 2 million people visiting the site. “Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems that prevented you from finishing the process on time,” the message said. “If this happened to you, don’t worry — we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as Jan. 1.”
The move is the latest in a series of deadline extensions that have come as the Obama administration scrambles to enroll as many as people as possible for coverage beginning January 1. The original deadline was December 15, but was extended through December 23. On Monday, officials acknowledged that they had built a 24-hour extension into the architecture of the HealthCare.gov website, stretching the December 23 deadline through Christmas Eve.