You’ll have until Dec. 23 to ring in the new year with an Obamacare insurance plan. The deadline for individuals to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov
has been extended eight days because of the “technical challenges” some users have experienced with the site, said Julie Bataille
, communications director at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The previous deadline to enroll in a plan that begins Jan. 1 was Dec. 15. Bataille said CMS consulted with insurers about this extension. Consumers have until March 31 to enroll in plans that begin later in the year. Bataille said CMS, which is charge of HealthCare.gov, has no plans at this point to extend this open enrollment period beyond March 31. The agency, however, has delayed the beginning of open enrollment for 2015 coverage by a month until Nov. 15, a date that Republicans note
now comes after the 2014 congressional elections. HealthCare.gov still has problems, but Bataille said it’s getting better every day — except for Wednesday, when it was down for three hours.
Jeffrey Zients, the former entrepreneur and budget official the White House enlisted to lead HealthCare.gov’s fixes, joined Bataille on Friday’s press call to update where things stand with the website. By the end of this month, Zients said, the site will be able to accommodate 800,000 visits a day, and most users won’t experience slow response times, error messages or system outages, he said. When spikes in users exceed the system’s upgraded capacity, a queue will be set up to handle customers in an orderly fashion. “The system will not work perfectly, but it will operate smoothly for the vast majority of users,” he said.