State House News Service

State Delays Health Connector Enrollment To Dec. 31

BOSTON — Amid technical problems with its website and “heavy volume” on Monday, the state Health Connector pushed back an enrollment deadline from Dec. 23 to Dec. 31 for coverage that will kick in to start the new year.

The deadline applies to people applying for a plan for the first time or people with unsubsidized coverage that is expiring Dec. 31, and who need new plans starting Jan. 1 to avoid a gap in coverage.

Administration officials noted that enrollments ahead of the 2008 individual mandate were made up until Dec. 31, 2007.

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act has featured myriad technical problems on the federal government’s website as well as with the state’s site, which were both built by contractor CGI and have forced state Connector officials to find ways to work around the computer system that has been unable to process applications from start to finish.

Without providing a specific date the decision was made to delay the deadline, a Connector official told the News Service Monday the decision process has been ongoing as administrators consulted with Dell, its customer service vendor, and insurance carriers about the feasibility of pushing the enrollment deadline back without disrupting coverage.

Connector officials also spoke to CGI about its planning, and made the decision to delay without a vote of its board, which meets monthly.

“We have had heavy volume today,” the official told the News Service Monday. Through Sunday night, 44,373 applications have been completed, according to the Connector. A Connector official was unable to immediately provide rough figures on the number of people who will need to sign up by the new deadline.

“This new timeframe ensures that even more people can get into the best plan for themselves and their family in time for January,” said Connector Executive Director Jean Yang, in a statement. The Connector said if an application is filed but not processed by Dec. 31, the filer will be “placed in temporary coverage until the Health Connector completes its review of the application, guaranteeing coverage for everyone.”

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