The Obama administration is granting a six-week extension until March 31 for Americans to sign up for coverage next year and avoid new tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The move had been expected since White House Press Secretary Jay Carney promised quick action last week to resolve a "disconnect" in the implementation of the law. Technical problems continue to trouble the healthcare.gov site that's supposed to be the main enrollment vehicle for people who don't get health care at work.
Under the new policy, people who sign up by the end of open enrollment season won't face a penalty. Previously the deadline was the middle of February, so that coverage would take effect March 1. The extension is for 2014 only.
Earlier Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said that while the health care law provides a good product, the administration poorly managed the exchange website rollout.
"Getting people in is crucial. I know that's why it's so deeply upsetting that the government just dropped the ball on getting the website launched, but the answer is double down and get it fixed," Warren said at a meeting with the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, according to Talking Points Memo. "Get it fixed and get people in the door."
Warren would not say whether the individual mandate should be delayed if users continue to experience difficulty.
"Right now, the bad rollout is obviously making a huge difference. There are families who can't get the health insurance that they want," she said. “But it looks like progress is being made. We'll just see how long it takes."
Warren acknowledged the problems with the federal exchange, but defended the law itself.