Tuesday was the extended deadline to sign up through the Obamacare exchanges in order to be enrolled for health coverage starting January 1. The day before, Healthcare.gov saw record traffic of 2 million people visiting the site and more than 250,000 phone calls over the course of the day.
Despite the Tuesday deadline, the administration said it will continue to work this week with people who had difficulty getting through the website.
“Our highest priority is making sure that everyone who wants to enroll to have health care coverage by Jan. 1 is able to do so, particularly since consumers had a hard time accessing HealthCare.gov in October and November,” administration spokesperson Julie Bataille said. Starting Thursday, “Consumers who tried to enroll prior to today and had problems with the system should contact the Marketplace call center for individual assistance.” A spokesperson earlier compared the extension to standing in line to vote when the polls close: “You still get to vote.”
CNN Money reports that federal and state exchanges all saw a surge of interest at the last minute: More than 6,700 people in Connecticut signed up Monday, while New York saw nearly 20,000 and California 27,000 in a single day. Several states, including Massachusetts, Oregon, and Maryland, have chosen to extend their deadlines for the state-run exchanges to the end of the month.
As the administration resolved the technical problems that plagued the initial rollout, enrollment steadily gained steam. President Obama announced last Friday, more than 1 million people had signed up for private coverage through the exchanges, up from 365,000 before November 30.