The original deadline to complete Obamacare enrollment was on Sunday; the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to move it until Wednesday, December 18th. Now, those who weren’t able to sign up last week would have extra time to enroll in their preferred healthcare plan.
According to CMS, there were people who attempted to sign up for the federal healthcare program during the final hours of the enrollment period. However, not everyone was able to complete the process. The CMS then extended the deadline until Wednesday, 3 AM for those who want to complete their enrollment for the 2020 coverage.
An advocacy group, Get America Covered, lauded CMS’ announcement, saying it was the right step to ensure everyone would have enough time to get health coverage. The group recently demanded an extension due to the long wait times and service interruptions on the final day of the open enrollment. The group’s co-founder, Joshua Peck, added that the CMS should now do everything to reduce confusion and inform everyone of the extended deadline.
Considering this year’s weak enrollment reports for federal health plans, the extension was indeed a good thing to do. Last week, CMS revealed that about 3.9 million Americans signed up via Healthcare.gov starting November 1st to December 7th. Although this seems like a huge number, the enrollment rate actually went down to nearly 3.5%.
One possible reason behind the decreasing enrollment rate was the slashed budget for Obamacare advertising. Back in 2017, the Trump administration reduced the said budget by 90%; now, former President Barack Obama made efforts to encourage people to sign up.
In his message last week, the former president showed his holiday shopping list of gifts that cost $10 or less; the said list included healthcare coverage. Obama also emphasized the availability of 2020 coverage with affordable monthly premiums. He said that two-thirds of those eligible for federal health coverage could find plans with monthly premiums of less than $10.