KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Administration Will Extend Sign-Up Period Beyond March 31 Deadline

People who began the enrollment process but were not able to finish it because of technical problems will be given additional time to enroll in a health plan. In recent weeks, some of the states operating their own health exchanges have taken similar steps.  

The Washington Post: Obama Administration Will Allow More Time To Enroll In Health Care On Federal Marketplace
The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline. … Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth (Goldstein, 3/25).

The New York Times: U.S. To Extend Sign-Up Period For Insurance
With less than a week left for people to sign up for health insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday that it would allow more time for those who had tried to apply but were blocked by technical problems with the federal exchange. Several states running their own exchanges, including Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada, have taken similar steps in the last two weeks (Pear, 3/25).

Los Angeles Times: White House Offers Extension On Completing Obamacare Enrollment
Officials said they were making the move now in anticipation of a last-minute rush of consumers seeking health insurance ahead of the March 31 deadline. On Monday, more than 1.1 million people visited, the second-largest traffic day on the site, the White House said (Levey, 3/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: HHS Grants Extra Time To Enroll For Health Care
The White House is scrambling to meet a goal of 6 million signed up through new online markets that offer subsidized private health insurance to people without access to coverage on the job. The website got more that 1 million visitors Monday, and the administration also wants to prevent a repeat of website problems that soured consumers last fall (3/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration To Give Insurance-Enrollment Extension
A handful of states that run their own exchanges have also decided to extend enrollment for those who haven't finished their applications. One concern is the fact that users could flood the national and state exchanges in the final days before the deadline, hampering their ability to function. … HHS said it would allow individuals with special circumstances and complex cases to receive help completing the enrollment process beyond the March 31 deadline for most Americans to sign up (Radnofsky, 3/25).

USA Today: Administration Extending Health Care 
Officials recommend setting aside some time for enrollment to gather family information, investigate whether a doctor is within a plan's network, and ensuring that those new to the insurance world understand basic terms like "deductible" and "premium," which are explained at As the deadline looms closer, HHS has sent out emails to everyone who has begun the process encouraging them to complete their forms. To complete enrollment, people must also send their first month's premium payment to the insurer. In January, the administration encouraged insurers to backdate enrollment to when people completed their applications (Kennedy, 3/26).

Politico: Extra Time Granted For Some On Obamacare
The deadline for individuals to start the sign-up process remains March 31, but they will get extra time and assistance to complete it if they’ve encountered problems. It was not immediately clear how many people this could affect, or how much extra time they would get. Details are expected to be announced Wednesday (Kenen, 3/26).

Politico: A Brief History Of Obamacare Delays
Did anyone really doubt that the final Obamacare enrollment deadline would slip, too? It’s not like the Obama administration is setting a new precedent with its latest move — giving customers more time to enroll after next Monday’s deadline if they’re already in line (Nather and Levine, 3/25).

NBC News: As Deadline Nears, Obamacare Enrollees Can Get More Time
People who have been trying to sign up for health insurance on the new Obamacare exchanges may be able to buy themselves some time beyond the looming March 31 deadline, administration officials said Tuesday night. But White House officials balked at calling the move an extension, saying it was more like letting people vote past the time the polls close if they were already in line. “If you are in line when March 31 deadline passes, you will be helped,” White House spokeswoman Tara McGuinness said on Twitter (Fox, 3/25).

Fox News: Obama Administration Extends Health Care Enrollment Deadline
All consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension, federal officials told the Washington Post. The Washington Post reported that users will have a chance to check a box on the website indicating they tried to enroll before the deadline, though the government will not try to determine whether the person actually made an effort to sign up (3/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Bungling Mars Health Care Deadline In Some States
Many states and the federal government experienced technical problems with the enrollment websites, but implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act has been a relative disaster in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Vermont. Rather than focusing on meeting enrollment targets, officials in those states find themselves consumed with replacing top officials, cancelling contracts with software companies, dealing with state or federal investigations, and spending tens of millions of dollars on fixes and new contractors (3/25).

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