Healthcare.gov sees surge on last day to enroll

Healthcare.gov homepage
As of Dec. 9, 4.7 million plan selections have been made on the federal health insurance exchange.

Today is the final day of Affordable Care Act open enrollment for most states, and as expected, many are rushing to sign up for plans.

In a sign of high customer volume, some who have contacted federal call centers for help enrolling in Healthcare.gov are being asked to leave their contact information so that operators can call them back, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokeswoman told the Associated Press. But those customers will still be able to get coverage effective Jan. 1, per CMS.

RELATED: Sign-up surge may cause issues in final days of open enrollment

Because of that deadline rush, some advocates have called on the Trump administration to offer a “grace period” for consumers who started an application before the deadline but couldn’t finish it, the Washington Examiner reported. Federal health officials haven’t yet said whether they will do so.

Others, like former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt, want an extended deadline for everybody:

As of Dec. 9, 4.7 million plan selections have been made on the federal exchange—more than the 4.02 million as of Dec. 10 the year prior. But the open enrollment period is half as long this year for the 39 states the use Healthcare.gov, which will likely mean the overall enrollment total will fall short of what it was for the 2016-2017 sign-up season. 

States that run their own exchanges, though, are offering a longer enrollment window, according to Politico Pulse. For seven states and the District of Columbia, the deadline is in January, and three states have set it in late December. 

“With all the confusion at the national level, we did not want to add to that confusion by changing the open enrollment period this year,” Lizelda Lopez, a Covered California spokeswoman, told California Healthline. California’s deadline is Jan. 31—the same as during the Obama administration.

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