ACA open enrollment has been extended until 3 a.m. ET Wed., Dec. 18, but federal officials haven’t made a very big deal of it

Open enrollment for “Obamacare” health insurance has been extended until 3 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 18, because of extensive computer glitches that happened over the weekend.

The original deadline was 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15. The last day is always the busiest, but many people trying to enroll via the website or by phone ran into delays and other issues. Despite the problems, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement that more than half a million people were able to enroll on Sunday. According to CMS, “people who already left their names and contact information with the call center on Sunday don’t need to come back and reapply because a representative will follow up with them later in the week,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports for The Associated Press.

The nonprofit Get America Covered urged the administration to extend the sign-up. The group was founded by ex-Obama administration officials to get the word out about ACA open enrollment after the Trump administration halved the sign-up period and slashed budgets for advertising, outreach and “navigators,” people who help others sign up for coverage, Alonso-Zaldivar notes.

Get America Covered co-founder Joshua Peck applauded the extension, but said he worries that the administration isn’t doing much to publicize or clarify it. The home page still says in big letters that open enrollment is over. A banner with much smaller letters at the top of the page says it has been extended, which could confuse users, Sarah Gantz reports for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Senior lawmakers of both major parties are urging the administration to publicize the availability of a redo for seniors who got inaccurate or confusing results using the Medicare Plan Finder. A redesign of the Medicare site produced search results that didn’t automatically rank the prescription drug plan with the lowest total cost first,” Alonso-Zaldivar reports.

Peck noted that there were serious glitches on the first day of open enrollment too, and called on CMS to not only extend the deadline and publicize it more, but to also commit to being transparent about what caused the glitches and what the agency has done to ensure they won’t happen again, Gantz reports.
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