Federal regulators Thursday night extended the midnight deadline for Affordable Care Act insurance by four days, as consumers fought to get through to call center operators and log onto Healthcare.gov to buy insurance that takes effect Jan. 1.
“Nearly a million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line,” Healthcare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan said in a statement late Thursday. “Our goal is to provide affordable coverage to everyone seeking it before the deadline, and these two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage.”
Millions of Americans have already signed up for coverage, and tens of thousands more were in the process of getting coverage Thursday, Counihan said. As it did in previous years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided that giving people more time was far more preferable than angering them if they couldn’t get insurance because they couldn’t get through.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday that enrollment momentum was building leading up to the deadline. About 700,000 people signed up for plans Monday and Tuesday alone, just as Republican members of Congress and President-elect Donald Trump vowed to repeal the law.