Americans are being given an extra day to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, with the Obama administration quietly extending the deadline to 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, The Washington Post reports.
"Government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change" that automatically gives people the extra day, sources told the newspaper.
The rule change is the latest of the many tweaks that have been made to the healthcare law, which has been plagued by numerous issues, from a botched website launch to the reality that many will have to drop their doctors, despite the president's promise.
The latest tweak comes weeks after administration officials announced that the website's glitches had mostly been fixed.
The Post said the unannounced extension is "intended as a buffer in case the website has trouble if a last-minute surge of insurance-seekers proved more than the computer system could handle."
Sources told the newspaper that the one-day extension is automatic and cannot be overridden by insurers who might object.
Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency overseeing the health exchange, had no immediate comment.
One insurance industry official told The Post: “Making yet another last-minute change to the rules by shortening an already-tight time period in which to process enrollments makes it even harder to ensure people who have selected a plan are able to have their coverage begin in January.”
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