- (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Today marks a major deadline for the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, as people wishing to have health insurance starting on Jan. 1 must sign up today or face a gap in health insurance coverage.
In lite of the troubled roll out of Healthcare.gov President Obama extended the deadline to sign up for insurance to ensure coverage starting News Years Day, but some states have extended the deadline even further which could cause additional consumer confusion.
"They stepped all over the first two months of the enrollment period. Now I think there's this big effort to give people as much flexibility as they can to sign up for coverage effective Jan 1," Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Reuters. "The downside is there could be more confusion. The upside is that many more people could get in under the wire."
On Sunday, President Obama insisted that ObamaCare is moving forward and the website is improving on a daily basis and but urged those who wanted health insurance to enroll by Monday.
"The law is working," the president said in a statement. "If you don't have health insurance, go to [the site] right now and sign up. If you do it before December 23rd, you can be covered on the first day of the New Year. … I'm asking you to spread the word about getting covered."
Leading up to this deadline many states reported a surge in enrollments which led to speculation that more people were more confident about obtaining health insurance through Obamacare.
California successfully implemented a state run exchange and health officials there have seen the number of people enroll more than double in the last couple of weeks. The California exchange saw an average of 15,000 enrollments a day last week, which is more than double the 7,000 a day the previous week, as reported by ABC.
"We are all still in the first inning of a nine-inning game," Covered California executive director Peter Lee told reporters during a press call. "Friends are telling friends; family are telling family. … We are quite confident that as we go into the next half of enrollment that we will build momentum."
Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia created and run their own online insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. While some states are seeing an increasing number of enrollments other states have suffered setbacks due to technical issues with their online insurance marketplaces including Maryland, Oregon and Hawaii.