HHS Announces Three Affordable Care Act Deadline Extensions

HHS Announces Three Affordable Care Act Deadline Extensions


On Thursday, December 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on announced that her department is implementing a trio of Affordable Care Act deadline extensions intended to ease the transition to coverage in the law's new insurance marketplaces in 2014,

The changes were prompted by the various technical issues that plagued the online marketplaces -- particularly the federal health insurance exchange -- when they were launched in October, which caused problems and delays for consumers when they tried to enroll in health plans. As a result of which many consumers may need more time to select and pay for the new coverage.

HHS has:

  • Officially asked insurers to honor the new Dec. 23 deadline for coverage that begins on Jan. 1;
  • Urged insurers to give consumers more time -- until Dec. 31 -- to make their payments for coverage that begins Jan. 1 and asked them to accept late or partial payments for coverage; and
  • Extended by one month -- through the end of January 2014 -- the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, which has been providing coverage to about 100,000 U.S. residents with severe health conditions who were unable to purchase private coverage prior to the ACA.

An HHS fact sheet said the department "will consider moving [the Dec. 23] deadline to a later date should exceptional circumstances pose barrier to consumers enrolling on or before" that date.

(California Healthline 12/13/2013)