Health

Affordable Care Act enrollment extended until Wednesday

Technical glitches may have contributed, according to national reports

Affordable Care Act insurance open enrollment screen for 2020 coverage at HealthCare.gov on December 17, 2019. (The Gaze
Affordable Care Act insurance open enrollment screen for 2020 coverage at HealthCare.gov on December 17, 2019. (The Gazette)

The deadline for Americans to enroll in health insurance through the federal exchange has been extended by two days.

Individuals now can sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act through Wednesday, Dec. 18, according to an announcement from federal officials.

The deadline to sign up for insurance starting Jan. 1 had been Monday.

“This additional time will give consumers the opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for Jan. 1 coverage,” according to a statement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that oversees the marketplace and open enrollment.

According to some national news reports, the extension was added likely due to widespread glitches on the website consumers use to sign-up for insurance.

Thirty-eight states, including Iowa, use healthcare.gov to sign up for plans through the ACA. According to reports from The Hill website, technical problems on healthcare.gov have prevented people from signing up in recent days.

The CMS acknowledged some consumers “may have experienced issues” in the final hours of open enrollment in its statement Monday, adding officials have extended enrollment “in an abundance of caution” to accommodate those individuals.

“CMS’s primary goal is to provide a seamless open enrollment experience for HealthCare.gov consumers and ensure that those Americans who want coverage offered through the Exchange can enroll in a plan,” according to its statement.

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As of Dec. 7, nearly 3.9 million Americans had signed up for plans during open enrollment. Of that, a little more than 1 million are new consumers.

In Iowa, more than 23,000 individuals signed up for coverage through the exchange as of Dec. 7.

The CMS stated those individuals who left their name at the call center will not need to call back and apply during the extension. A call center representative will follow up later in the week.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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