Tens of thousands of Americans are in that position
after 2014 Obamacare enrollment officially closed, the heads of two
of the most successful state-based insurance exchanges, California
and Connecticut, told the Reuters Health Summit on Tuesday.
The Obama administration has offered a grace period for people who
tried to sign up in time for Monday's deadline but could not
complete the process.
Covered California, the Obamacare exchange in America's most
populous state, had "more than 30,000 people" who began an
application for health coverage and were told to "come back later,"
Executive Director Peter Lee told Reuters.
The online exchange expected a high number of users as the deadline
approached, he said, and therefore instituted a number of
information technology tweaks and other mechanisms to handle it. But
the exchange was still caught short and will therefore give the
30,000 two more weeks to complete enrollment.
California enrolled more than 1.2 million people in private health
insurance, Lee said. That is roughly 17 percent of the national
total of 7.1 million. If California's Cinderellas are nationally
representative, then there could be 178,000 people waiting to
complete an application throughout the 50 states.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which operates the
Obamacare marketplaces for 36 states, did not immediately reply to a
question about how many people it estimated might enroll during the
post-March 31 grace period.
AccessHealthCT, Connecticut's Obamacare exchange, was able to enroll
about half of those who tried to sign up for insurance on the last
day of Obamacare's first open enrollment period, which began on
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"We enrolled about 6,000 people last night," Chief Executive
Kevin Counihan told the summit, "and we have about 7,000 more in the
That includes people who went to the exchange's two brick-and-mortar
retail stores as well as those who were plowing through electronic
enrollment but did not complete the process before the calendar
Connecticut's online Obamacare marketplaces were one of the
country's most successful technologically, so much so that it is
offering its "exchange in a box" software to other states. Yet even
it was slowed by the last-minute surge, Counihan said.
"We were having some problems keeping up with demand," he told the
(Reporting by Sharon Begley; editing by Michele Gershberg and Peter
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