Obamacare Deadline Extended by Several States Again

Obamacare enrollment isn’t over for everyone. Hawaii and Washington, D.C. announced another delay Wednesday, joining a handful of other states who already pushed back their deadlines.

Most states that have extended their enrollment deadlines are those with ongoing technological problems with their online exchanges — a consolation prize for state residents in return for their government’s failure to properly construct their Obamacare websites.

But Wednesday morning, Washington’s exchange extended its sign-up deadline yet again, although the exchange hasn’t faced serious tech issues. The enrollment period will now continue through April 30.

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“Residents who need in-person or telephone help will now have through April 30 to enroll,” exchange officials said in a statement. “Also persons with an online account with DC Health Link who have not yet selected a health a plan will have through April 30 to enroll in a private health plan.”

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“When enrolling through DCHealth Link after March 31, consumers will be asked to attest that they sought either in-person or telephone assistance or they started the process of enrollment, but could not finish,” the statement noted, but did not mention whether there would be any verification of problems signing up.

The last minute fix is similar to the Obama administration’s two-week extension of the deadline for the 36 exchanges run by the federal government, which asked customers to simply check a box asserting that they experienced difficulty signing up, but did not require any verification.

Hawaii also announced Wednesday that those who have already created accounts on the online exchange will be able to select a plan through April 30. In addition, those that did not yet begin enrollment but submitted a “save my place in line” form signifying their interest will also be able to enroll.

Interim exchange director Tom Matsuda promised that “April 30 is the absolute deadline to complete enrollment to avoid tax penalties and that there will be no further extensions,” according to a statement released by the exchange.

Hawaii and D.C. are belatedly joining Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Massachusetts and Maryland, all of which had previously extended their deadlines.

Minnesota’s exchange most recently pushed back its deadline to April 22 for those who previously completed forms claiming they encountered problems enrolling, creating a greater barrier against those that simply didn’t sign up in time from purchasing insurance after the deadline.

Maryland, whose failed website has been canned in favor of Connecticut’s model, has extended its deadline through April 18. But some 18,000 people who have already requested more time to sign up for insurance due to the online exchange’s problems will be helped, before or after the deadline, exchange board chairman Joshua Sharfstein said Tuesday.

Nevada’s enrollment will be open through the end of May and Oregon’s through the end of April. Massachusetts’ exchange will be open until June 30 only for residents enrolled in a temporary state health plan due to the exchange’s earlier delays. (RELATED: Poll: Three-fourths think uneven Obamacare enrollment extensions unfair)

With deadlines being extended piecemeal across the country, final Obamacare enrollment totals for the first full enrollment period may not be finalized for some time.


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