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Poll reveals most believe Obamacare enrollment extensions are unfair

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In response to the moving target of deadlines for adhering to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and varying deadlines on state insurance exchanges, medical insurance comparison website HealthPocket.com issued a nationwide survey early in March. The survey asked whether it is fair that the Obamacare enrollment deadline was extended in some states but not in all states.

The survey analysis was based on 1,307 responses to a nationwide online survey posted at various online news and content sites after the March 26, 2014, announcement from the White House that granted a two week extension for citizens in 36 out of 50 states to sign up for insurance by April 15, 2014. Seventy-six percent of the respondents answered, "No, it's unfair to have different deadlines."

Those who attempted to sign up for insurance on the federal website Healthcare.gov but who were unable to complete the application due to technical problems now have until April 15, 2014 to complete their application.

Variations for deadlines among states include:

  • Connecticut retained the original March 31 deadline set forth by Obamacare.
  • Massachusetts' deadline for switching to a qualified health plan from a temporary state-run plan is set at June 30, 2014, if the resident experiences application processing delays.
  • Nevada grants a sixty day extension if a resident tried to sign up by March 31 using Nevada Health Link but the application failed to go through.
  • Washington D.C. doesn't require a botched application for its residents to get an extension to April 15, 2014 to secure insurance using the DC Health Link web site. Residents only need to have an account established on the site.

Most of the extensions are being granted due to technical issues with state insurance exchange websites, just as Healthcare.gov was plagued with multiple technical problems that kept people from enrolling in the federal insurance program to avoid paying a penalty of 1% of adjusted gross annual income or $95 (whichever amount is larger). Although this seems fair, the majority of survey respondents clearly believe extensions should be offered in all states, for the same amount of time.

See the survey results page for more information. HealthPocket.com is a free consumer-oriented website that compares health insurance plans using only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources.

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