While that may sound definitive, there are indications that the window could extend beyond March 31 for some potential enrollees. Specifically, people who attempted to sign up for coverage through the federal HealthCare.gov web site, but were thwarted by technological problems, could be granted a window in which to complete their enrollments.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seemingly indicated as much during testimony last Wednesday before the House Way and Means Committee. “We have made it clear that if, through no fault of their own, they were unable to enroll, that eligibility extends to a delayed enrollment period and they will have a special enrollment period which we have the authority to grant,” Sebelius said.
There is a precedent for such a special enrollment period. At the end of December, HHS allowed individuals who had tried to sign up for coverage that would be effective Jan. 1, but were stymied by technological problems, an extra window to complete their applications.
While HealthCare.gov has been largely functional since the start of December, there are still occasional problems with the web site. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the web site experienced brief outages on three occasions between March 6 and 14.
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