Obamacare Deadline Extended

The deadline for people to enroll for Obamacare health insurance was Monday, at midnight, but federal officials say if you missed the deadline to register for the insurance under the federal Affordable Health Care Act, there's no need to panic, just yet.

The deadline has been extended because of an overflow of potential enrollees and problems with the website.

The federal website, healthcare.gov, where people can sign up for coverage, was offline for maintenance Monday morning, for several hours. By Monday afternoon when Sheridan Media reporter Pat Blair went online to the site, she was directed to a page that stated that “healthcare.gov was having a lot of visitors,” so was told to wait. According to the online message, she said, if you didn't want to wait, you could leave your email to be contacted.

Up to that point, the Obama administration had agreed to let people sign up after Monday's deadline, if they had started their application online, but got caught up in technical difficulties. People can also enroll by contacting either of the two Wyoming carriers of the federal health insurance – WINHealth or Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming. WINHealth does not have a local office, but Blue Cross Blue Shield does, in Suite 9 of the Columbus Building at 23 North Scott Street.

Other exceptions for late sign-ups without penalties include what's been called “exceptional circumstances,” described as natural disasters, enrollment errors or unresolved casework. Married victims of domestic abuse can also apply for an extension. Other reasons people will be allowed to apply past Monday's deadline include qualifying life events like getting married, having a child, or losing a job that provided insurance. Those who do enroll for coverage, now, will be insured by May 1.

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