Will states extend exchange enrollment deadline?

Although the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services repeatedly said it won't extend the March 31 deadline to enroll in the health insurance exchanges, some states are considering steps to offer an extension to their residents.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said while testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee Wednesday that her agency won't push back the deadline to give consumers more time to sign up for an exchange plan. She also emphatically denied it would delay the individual mandate, The New York Times reported.

But some states, including Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, hope to implement their own delays. In Oregon, for example, the state's online marketplace still isn't fully functioning and lawmakers are expected to consider a bill that would seek an extension from HHS, reported The Washington Post.

The exchange board in Nevada is set to consider an extension this week. If the enrollment deadline is postponed, it won't apply to all consumers. "It will be for people who attempt to sign up on the site but aren't able to for some reason (involving the) system," CJ Bawden, spokesperson for Nevada's Silver State Health Insurance Exchange board, told the Renzo Gazette-Journal.

Although some members of New Mexico's exchange board support extending the enrollment period, its state-run marketplace is only for small businesses. Since it's using the federal exchange for individual enrollment, the state must abide by the HHS timeline.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- see The Washington Post article
- check out the Renzo Gazette-Journal article

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