ObamaCare help offered amid run-up to deadline
The US government has offered help to people who missed the December 24 deadline to enroll for the ObamaCare.
The government said anyone who failed to finish their application through a dedicated website – HealthCare.gov – could still obtain a policy for the new year.
On Monday, it extended the original deadline by a day amid high demand and technical issues.
HealthCare.gov has been plagued by glitches since its October 1st rollout.
The problems with President Barack Obama’s signature bill have hit his popularity ratings hard.
The website was set up under a 2010 healthcare law that seeks to cover millions of Americans who do not have health insurance.
“Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems that prevented you from finishing the process on time,” a message on the federal marketplace website said just hours before the Tuesday midnight deadline.
“If this happened to you, don’t worry – we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as 1 January.”
The website also provided helpline contact numbers and told applicants to “tell our customer service representative that you’ve been trying to enroll and explain why you couldn’t finish by the deadline.
“They can tell you what you can do to finish your enrolment and still get covered for 2014.”
Two states have extended the deadline for coverage in the new year even further, to December 27th in Maryland and December 31st in Minnesota.
While the website has been upgraded over the course of the past two months, it has still experienced downtime in the past few weeks.
Americans may still enroll in private insurance plans through the website after December 24th, but they will not be guaranteed coverage at the start of the new year.
A more important deadline for the Obama administration is March 31st 2014, when enrolment in the programme ends for the year.
Those who do not have coverage through their employer, government-run health programmes or through the federal or state-run websites by then will have to pay a tax penalty.
[youtube zN50Vigak6o 650]