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No more deadline extensions for ACA exchanges

Health Care and Health Insurance
by Tom Handley
Costs keep rising for employer-based health insurance
Costs keep rising for employer-based health insurance

Large numbers of people across the country may have experienced delays in getting signed up for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandated health insurance exchanges, and as such the Obama administration recently allowed for those who went through such difficulties to take a little extra time beyond the March 31 deadline to get signed up. However, it recently announced that it would not put another extension into place.

The reason that so many experienced such delays in recent weeks is that some state exchange sites, and at time even the revamped federal version, were hit with slowdowns and other issues that made it difficult or even impossible to sign up, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. However, after that March 31 deadline day, the number of people who tried to sign up via those extensions has slowed to a trickle, and the thinking at the White House is that those who planned to sign up would have been able to do so by April 15. However, it should also be noted that those who experienced more severe delays, or those who have complicated medical cases, might still be allowed to delay their sign-up as long as they are approved on an individual basis.

One health care center in Florida that had been dealing with a large amount of enrollment interest in the last few days before the deadline recently revealed that it had a waiting list of 450 people on April 1, the report said. That number has since dwindled to about 250, and that's probably about as many as are going to end up enrolling. Similar slowing of interest among consumers has been reported in other parts of the country as well.

What does that mean?
Effectively, this is fairly conclusive evidence that everyone who was going to sign up for the exchanges has done so, the report said. As of the middle of last week, it had been reported that about 7.5 million Americans were able to sign up for either state or federal exchanges, and that's about 400,000 more than had signed up by April 1.

Insurance companies can still sign up those who do not yet have coverage, as a means of helping them to reduce the costs they might face if they obtain health insurance coverage. However, the exchanges are now more or less closed until the next open enrollment period, which begins in October.



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