Federal health officials announced Thursday night that they have extended the deadline for consumers to sign up for Jan. 1 coverage through Affordable Care Act marketplaces, giving them until the end of Monday night to enroll.
The announcement marked the second consecutive year that federal officials granted insurance-seekers a little extra time beyond the Dec. 15 deadline. Kevin Counihan, chief executive of the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace within the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, attributed the decision to “extraordinary volume of consumers” contacting call centers or visiting HealthCare.gov, the website for the federal insurance exchange.
Counihan said in a statement that some consumers had been asked to wait before logging on to the federal website or speaking with a phone representative, and that nearly 1 million consumers had provided contact information to hold their place in a virtual waiting line.
On Wednesday, CMS officials said that about 4 million people had chosen ACA health plans by the start of this week. The enrollment period runs through the end of January, though those who sign up after Dec. 19 will not have coverage as of New Year’s Day. Obama administration officials have predicted an average of slightly more than 11 million consumers will be covered through ACA health plans in 2017.