Late Wednesday night, the Obama administration revealed it will give Americans six extra weeks to purchase health insurance via the ill-functioning online market place.
A Health and Human Services official gave a deadline of March 31, 2014 to sign up for a plan. The reason for the extension was unrelated to healthcare.gov’s non-functionality, but rather had to do with “timing confusion” about the 2010 law.
Under the law, health plans available through the new federal or state marketplaces will start Jan. 1, but the open enrollment period runs through the end of March. The law also says that people will be fined only if they do not have coverage for three months in a row. The question has been this: Do people need to be covered by March 31, or merely to have signed up by then, given that insurance policies have a brief lag before they take effect?
The healthcare.gov website has faced a myriad of technical “glitches” since its roll out on October 1. Contractors for the service will testify during a hearing today before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.