(HealthDay)—Consumers who want to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov will get a few extra days to sign up for coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1. The deadline for buying insurance through the federal health insurance exchange will be pushed from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said during a Friday news conference.
People who sign up by Dec. 23 and pay their first month's premium by Dec. 31 will have coverage effective Jan. 1. "This extension will allow consumers more time to review plan options, to talk to their families, providers or enrollment assisters and to enroll in a plan," said Julie Bataille, director of the Office of Communications at CMS. "We understand that technical challenges have made comparing plans more difficult in these first months, and we want to give consumers as much time as possible."
Also Friday, published reports said President Barack Obama plans to delay the second-year start of enrollment for Affordable Care Act health plans. Doing so would let insurers adjust to the demands of the health-reform law and possibly avert premium increases before the 2014 congressional elections.
The second-year enrollment period, previously set to start Oct. 15, 2014, will now start Nov. 15, said an anonymous U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official who spoke with Bloomberg News.