Guess How Many States Are Trying to Extend Their Obamacare Enrollment Deadlines
Marguerite Bowling /With only 11 days left in Obamacare’s open enrollment period, several states running the health law’s insurance exchanges are looking at ways to extend their enrollment deadlines for consumers who run into technical glitches, according to Modern Healthcare.
These states, which include Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington, are considering ways to allow potential enrollees—individuals who start the process but, due to online issues, have trouble finishing their applications before the March 31 deadline—enough time to sign up for health plans.
Unless they face certain hardships, special circumstances, or have low incomes, uninsured Americans must buy health coverage by the end of the month, or face an individual mandate tax penalty.
Massachusetts is asking the federal government for another extension that would allow residents to keep their current coverage or stay enrolled in temporary plans until the end of September, while Maryland is planning to allow state residents who require an extension to notify a hotline center by March 31 and indicate they have application problems, Modern Healthcare writes.
In the other states:
- Oregon is seeking a federal waiver to continue the enrollment period through the end of April;
- Nevada’s health insurance exchange board is considering a special enrollment period for applicants who could not sign up by the deadline;
- Vermont will give extensions to exchange customers who say they have encountered online problems; and
- Washington is determining whether to allow special extensions across the board or on an individual case basis.
The potential state enrollment extensions follow a similar approach by the federal government. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that federal health officials are examining how to extend the March 31 deadline for online enrollees who have technical problems securing a health plan through the main Obamacare website, HealthCare.gov.
Earlier this month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified in a congressional hearing that the Obama administration would not delay the March 31 enrollment deadline.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.