White House Extends March 31 Health Care Deadline

The extension is meant to give those who started the enrollment process before March 31 time to finish, but it will likely encompass other latecomers.

White House Extends March 31 Health Care Deadline
The White House / Pete Souza

President Obama is again making a small change to his health care reform plan, extending the enrollment deadline originally set for March 31. (Via The White House / Pete Souza)

Americans who began the enrollment process before that date will have until mid-April to finish. But, because this extension will be granted on an honor system basis, we can expect some late comers jumping onboard as well. (Via HealthCare.gov)

As of March 1, 4.2 million Americans had signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. That's an improvement from the program's rocky start but still not the 6 million sign ups the White House has set as a goal.

Though the president hopes a late-in-the-game PR push will help the effort.

“If you don’t have health insurance right now, you should go on healthcare.gov.” (Via The Ellen DeGeneres Show)

"Get on the website, spread the word." (Via The White House)

“Have you heard of the Affordable Care Act?” (Via Funny or Die / "Between Two Ferns")

The Washington Post reported this story first, breaking it past 8 p.m. eastern time. As the Post notes, Republicans will no doubt criticize Obama for again altering its health care rollout, though consumer advocates and the White House will be glad to have more time to sign up more people for insurance.

The Post quoted the director of the office overseeing the federal exchange saying: ​“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone."

The White House has made a number of alterations since open enrollment's first few days were plagued by technical glitches that turned many Americans away from the program. (Via CBS, CNET)

This deadline for March 31, or mid-April, is especially important because it's the last chance for most Americans to sign up for health insurance before filing taxes and risking a tax penalty for going without insurance.