Anyone who checks a box on HealthCare.gov will now be able to sign up for Obamacare after March 31.
Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.
The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.
The “honor system.” And how long will this last? They’ll let us know.
The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have gotten held up because of the Web site’s technical problems — or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage.
According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and depends in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time.
How is this going to work when filling out tax returns? Will you write that you are not subject to the tax/penalty because of the check box?
I can’t even do this anymore. Seriously.