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Two More States Delay Obamacare Deadlines At The Last Minute

Idaho and Minnesota are the two latest states to extend their Obamacare exchanges’ deadlines to pick a health insurance plan for Jan. 1 coverage. 

The national deadline to get coverage by the first of the year, when the individual mandate penalty gets hiked to at least $325, is Monday at 12 a.m. PST. But like last year, which saw a barrage of deadline delays, several states have pushed their deadlines back to hopefully accommodate more customers.

On Friday, New York became the first state to issue an extension, issuing a statement saying an extension was necessary because heavy snowstorms in parts of the state last month had prevented customers from accessing the website or going to an enrollment event.

Idaho is now allowing customers who start an application by Monday evening until Dec. 20 to select a plan.

The state just launched its state-run exchange for the first time this open enrollment period and is dealing with some technology glitches.  The call center is overloaded with customers trying to sort out website problems and access premium subsidy information, according to the Idaho Statesman.

On Monday evening, Minnesota also announced it would delay its deadline outright until Dec. 20.

Minnesota said it was delaying the sign-up deadline due to requests from insurance companies, “not because of technical issues.”

“The MNsure system continues to be stable and the vast majority of people coming through the system are doing so without issue,” CEO Scott Leitz said in a statement. “This change is simply to allow folks that qualify for financial help more time…We don’t want to leave anyone behind, especially if they qualify for financial help.”

MNsure is also facing some technical problems, however. Customers have reported that the exchange isn’t sure of the amount of premium subsidy they’re eligible for in 2014, according to local ABC affiliate KSTP. The exchange told KSTP the problem is affecting a “relatively small” number of people.

During the first open enrollment period, the Obama administration delayed the sign-up deadline for Jan. 1 coverage due to HealthCare.gov’s malfunctioning; then delayed the end of the open enrollment period in April as well.  This year, some Obamacare exchanges have faced technical problems, but few on the same scale as the first open enrollment period. 

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