A midnight deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act that starts Jan. 1 has been extended by a day in what the White House describes as an effort to accommodate people in different time zones.
The deadline that had been midnight on Dec. 23 has been pushed to Christmas Eve at midnight.
"[Without] any public announcement, Obama administration officials have changed the rules so that people will have an extra day to enroll, according to two individuals with knowledge of the switch."
Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the federal agency overseeing the health overhaul, said in a statement:
"Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for January 1."
NPR's Julie Rovner tells Here & Now that "it appears there may have been some concern over HealthCare.gov's ability to handle the last-minute traffic."
Rovner reports that "Maryland, Minnesota and Rhode Island have all extended their sign-up deadlines for coverage that will start Jan. 1."
The Associated Press says:
"The federal HealthCare.gov system serves 36 states. Some other states have also extended enrollment deadlines slightly."