Another Obamacare delay: HHS pushes back deadline for signing final healthcare plans

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The Obama administration is adding another delay to the list of hiccups to its Obamacare roll out.

The Department of Health and Human Services notified insurance companies on Tuesday that the agency would not be signing final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on the federal health insurance exchanges until mid-September, later than the original Sept. 5-9 timeframe, Reuters reports.

The delay in finalizing plans — which will affect plans in the 34 states running federal exchanges — will not alter the October 1 exchange opening, an HHS spokesman told Reuters. The remaining 16 states are setting up their own exchanges to comply with the October 1 open deadline.

Sources attributed the delay to technology problems. HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said the government was responding to “feedback” and “providing additional flexibility and time to handle technical requests.”

A former administration official who worked to implement healthcare reform told Reuters the delay made him wonder if open enrollment will be ready by the October 1 deadline, adding that the previous delays would pale in comparison to a possible delay of coverage.

“[H]aving everything ready on October 1 is not a critical issue,” the official told Reuters. “What matters to people is January 1, which is when the coverage is supposed to start. If that were delayed, it would be a substantive setback.”

This is the most recent snag in the administration’s roll out of the transformative healthcare program, including a one-year delay to the employer mandate and a delay on capping out-of-pocket expenses.

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