The Spectacle Blog

Another Obamacare Deadline Extended

By on 12.23.13 | 1:19PM

Before we all transition into the good cheer of Christmas, let’s take one last look back at the bleak technocratic hellscape that is the Obamacare rollout. The insurance companies already pushed the deadline for enrollees to pay their first month’s premium 10 days into the new year after it emerged that a measly 5-15 percent of those who had enrolled for new plans had actually paid. Now another delay:

At midnight Monday, the official deadline arrives for Americans to sign up through the new federal health insurance exchange for health plans that begin Jan. 1. But, without any public announcement, Obama administration officials have changed the rules so that people will have an extra day to enroll, according to two individuals with knowledge of the switch.

Over the weekend, government officials and outside IT contractors working on the online marketplace’s computer system made a software change that automatically gives people a Jan. 1 start date for their coverage as long as they enroll by 11:59 p.m. Christmas Eve.

It’s not a big change—only one day, and the administration is justifying it as a buffer for people who wait until the last day to enroll only to find that the ever-reliant Geocities server supporting Healthcare.gov has once again crashed and burned. But it keeps insurance companies aggravated and is another symptom of Obamacare’s mismanaged launch, though admittedly not nearly as pernicious as, say, the enrollment figures. The administration was predicting 3.3 million signups by the end of December. We’re at 890,000 so far. What about the desperately needed youth signups needed to balance out the older, more expensive enrollees? The computer whizzes at the White House claim to be clueless as to how many young people have purchased plans so far, but left-wing researchers are suddenly starting to downplay the detrimental effects of low youth enrollment.

So merry Christmas and get ready for a wild and interesting new year. And if you read through this post without reaching for the schnapps and eggnog, you’re a hardier man than I.

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