By Melissa Clyne
The enrollment period for Obamcare has been extended to March 15 for people with pre-existing conditions, the administration announced Tuesday despite last month's statement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that there would be no more delays in the program.
According to The Hill, the extension marks the second time that a change has been made to the $5 billion Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP), which was created as a temporary safeguard to ensure that the sickest patients do not experience a gap in coverage while waiting for the full implementation of Obamacare.
The PCIP enrollment period was originally supposed to end on Jan. 1 but received an extension until Jan.31 due to Healthcare.gov’s myriad technical problems following its Oct. 1 launch.
Fearing there wouldn’t be enough money to cover the 135,000 people who had already signed up, HHS stopped accepting new PCIP applicants early last year.
The PCIP extension was just another in a long list of Obamacare deadline extensions.
“The Obama administration has so far delayed the premium payments deadline, delayed by one week the sign-up date for coverage beginning Jan. 1, pushed back by six weeks the sign-up date for those seeking coverage by April 1, and delayed the second-year enrollment period until after the 2014 elections,” The Hill noted in its report Tuesday.
Consumers also received an extension to Dec. 31 to pay premiums for coverage beginning Jan. 1, a deadline that was later extended to Jan. 10. Insurers in many states have pushed the deadline for payments back even farther.
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