The Administration of President Barack Obama has authorized an unannounced postponement in the registration deadline for Obamacare enrollees wanting insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1.
The one-day postponement pushes the enrollment deadline back from midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow (or, technically, 11:59 p.m. Tuesday), even though the Healthcare.gov website still was experiencing crashes Monday.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported on the delay, “without any public announcement, Obama administration officials have changed the rules so that people will have an extra day to enroll, according to two individuals with knowledge of the switch.”
Here’s more from the Post:
One individual familiar with the unannounced extension said that it is, in part, intended as a buffer in case the Web site has trouble if a last-minute surge of insurance-seekers proved more than the computer system could handle.
According to the two individuals, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity about a matter that is not public, the one-day extension is automatic, built into the software, and cannot be overridden by individual insurers if they object.
Asked to explain the reason for the extension — and why it was kept secret — officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency overseeing the health exchange, at first declined to respond. By early afternoon, Julie Bataille, director of CMS’s office of communication, said the official deadline for signing up for Jan. 1 coverage remains Monday, but she added: “Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for Jan 1.”
Of course, insurers aren’t permitted to stop accepting enrollees who manage to make it through the Healthcare.gov enrollment gauntlet during the extra 24-hour period between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow – even though they’re just now finding out about the delay.
And this delay marks yet another unilateral change to legally-imposed enrollment deadlines the Obama Administration has made without Congressional authorization.