The Obama administration announced Friday that consumers will get an extra 8 days to sign up for qualified coverage through the individual marketplace for a January 1st effective date. The original deadline was December 15th, but it’s being pushed back to December 23rd.
The extra time to enroll is intended to help people who’ve had trouble with the Healthcare.gov website, which has been plagued with technical glitches since it went live October 1st.
Note that this announcement does not extend the initial enrollment period, which runs from October 1st through March 31st; instead, it extends the cut-off date for 1/1 enrollments. While this is good news for brokers who need the extra time to squeeze in a few more sales after a very slow start to what they thought would be a busy enrollment season, it also means that agents will be working hard right up until Christmas eve.
There’s no indication what the enrollment deadline will be next year – for now, it’s still scheduled to end December 15th – but the start date of the annual enrollment period has been pushed back from October 15th to November 15th. While this move is intended to give insurers more time to establish their 2015 rates, a New York Times article points out that this means the enrollment season won’t start until after next year’s mid-term elections, which could be good for Democrats who would likely suffer if next year’s enrollment period starts anything like this year’s did.