Health

Website Glitches Extend Obamacare Enrollment

In his Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, shown in Portland, Ore. Being uninsured in America will cost you more in 2015. In 2015, all taxpayers have to report to the Internal Revenue Service for the first time whether or not they had health insurance the previous year. Most will check a box. It’s also when the IRS starts collecting fines from some uninsured people, and deciding if others qualify for exemptions.  (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)
In his Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, on a laptop screen, shown in Portland, Ore. Being uninsured in America will cost you more in 2015. In 2015, all taxpayers have to report to the Internal Revenue Service for the first time whether or not they had health insurance the previous year. Most will check a box. It’s also when the IRS starts collecting fines from some uninsured people, and deciding if others qualify for exemptions. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

 

(Politico) – For the second year, Obamacare enrollment isn’t exactly over when it’s over.

The regular open enrollment season ended at midnight Sunday but the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday announced a one-week “special enrollment” period ending Feb. 22 for people trying to enroll through HealthCare.gov who encountered technical glitches or faced long waits through the call center on the final weekend. Most states have outlined similar policies.

There’s also a growing chorus urging a separate special enrollment period around the April 15 tax filing deadline. That would be for people who do their 2014 taxes, discover they must pay a penalty for going without insurance without an exemption — and face an even bigger fine for going uncovered in 2015. HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told POLITICO the agency is considering giving them another chance to sign up, and several Democratic lawmakers have urged precisely that.

A wave of people being fined without having a way to avoid another year’s fines would generate another spurt of unfavorable publicity for the ACA.

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