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December 15 Deadline Has Been Extended In Select States

As Monday’s key deadline has come and gone, several states have provided an extension for consumers to enroll and still have insurance by the start of the new year. If consumers miss this deadline they’ll have to wait until February 1 at the earliest to have coverage.

Here’s the information we have so far (as of Tuesday morning at 10am EST):

Maryland – December 18
Connecticut – December 19
California – December 21
New York – December 20
Minnesota – December 20, 4:30pm CST
Idaho – December 20, midnight MST
Rhode Island – December 23
Washington – December 23
Massachusetts – December 23 (unconfirmed)

Authorities from these state exchanges extended their original mid-December deadlines as high user demand clogged websites and call centers in a last-ditch effort to enroll at the deadline. Some states, such as New York, cited snowstorms that slammed the western part of the state recently.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said “We are providing this window to get people across the finish line,” Lee said at an exchange board meeting Monday. “We know many of the people applying have never had insurance before, and these are individuals who need to sit down and talk with someone.”

At Connecticut’s state-run Obamacare exchange, “we are seeing very high volume,” said Jason Madrak, a spokesman for the exchange earlier on Monday,

“As it relates to Web traffic, we typically see between 300-400 concurrent users on our site at any given time on a normal day. Today, we are seeing 750-850 concurrent users,” Madrak said in an email. “For call center activity, as of 10 a.m. this morning, we had already seen 4,986 calls come in. To put that in perspective, we had 15,000 calls come in the entire week after Thanksgiving, so we could be poised to handle a week’s worth of volume in one day.” But by Monday afternoon, Connecticut’s exchange announced a “grace period” for applicants until December 19.

Minnesota followed shortly after Connecticut’s announcement and extended their deadline to Saturday.

The early enrollment data from yesterday seems to indicate that the 9.1 million goal set by the administration in November will be exceeded. Charles Gaba, a leading analyst of Obamacare enrollment data, now expects there to be about 7.5 million people enrolled in time to have coverage effective by the new year and 12.5 million people in total by the end of open enrollment on February 15.

Consumers can continue to enroll until open enrollment closes on February 15, 2015. Any Americans that don’t enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance policy by the end of open enrollment will face a fine of $325 per adult, or 2% of their taxable income.

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