WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans who have started enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act can still sign up, and the U.S. government is weighing whether to open a special enrollment period for those who missed Sunday’s deadline, the health secretary said on Wednesday.
So far, 11.4 million Americans have enrolled in private health insurance through the health reform law known as Obamacare during the open enrollment period that ended on Sunday, according to the White House.
The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. But some people may not realize they face a penalty for not having coverage until they file their tax returns in coming weeks.
HHS will decide within the next two weeks whether to allow another special enrollment period for consumers, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters in response to a question about those consumers amid the looming April 15 tax-filing deadline.
“We’re going to analyze it, we’re going to think about it, and we’ll be back. And we will be back quickly on it,” she said at a news conference.
Separately, Burwell said fewer than 150,000 people were “in line” as of Sunday to get health insurance coverage through the marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act. They will have until Feb. 22 to complete their application, she said.
Those applicants were in communication with the telephone call center for the federal exchange marketplace but could not complete their application before Sunday’s deadline, according to HHS. They do not include people who had technical issues with the healthcare.gov website that prevented them from completing their enrollment, the department said.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Andrew Hay)