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Obamacare: Some may have more time to apply

Posted at 7:10 PM, Mar 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-21 19:10:23-04

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Some Americans may be able to finish their Obamacare applications after open enrollment ends on March 31.

The administration is considering giving those who start applying for health insurance by month’s end additional time if they run into technical trouble. A similar grace period was put in place in December to allow applicants to sign up in time to obtain coverage by Jan 1.

“As was the case for the December deadline, we’re going to want to make sure that people who are already in line can finish their enrollment,” Press Secretary Jim Carney said Friday.

Back in December, some people who missed the deadline on the 23rd were given an extra day if they had started their applications but couldn’t pick a plan because of technical issues. The federal exchange saw record-high traffic on Dec. 23.

Eligible applicants were directed to the federal exchange call center for instructions on how to obtain coverage in the new year. The 14 states running their own exchanges instituted their own extensions, some beyond the 24th.

Administration officials have said they expect a similar last-minute crush to exchange websites as the March 31 deadline approaches.

Those who don’t have insurance this year will face a penalty of $95, or 1% of income, whichever is greater.

More than 5 million people have picked plans, with more than 800,000 signing up in the first half of March alone. The administration and consumer advocates are doing a final outreach push before the final deadline.

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