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Health insurance enrollment deadline extended after website glitch

People who still need to purchase health care through state program have until midnight Dec. 17 to log on and sign up.

(Image is Clickable Link) PMG ILLUSTRATION - A screenshot shows the 35-hour extension granted to Oregonians who want to sign up for health insurance through the Oregon marketplace.The deadline to purchase health care for 2020 through the Oregon's Health Insurance Marketplace has been extended. People seeking insurance and subsidies through Oregon's Affordable Care Act system have until 11:59 p.m. (PST) Tuesday, Dec. 17, to select and purchase a plan.

Oregon's Department of Consumer and Business Services said heavy traffic Sunday, Dec. 15, on the state's marketplace website http://www.OregonHealthCare.Gov caused the site to delay some plan selections and purchases. An unknown number of people reported either the website crashed or they were left in the site's waiting room when the initial deadline hit midnight Sunday. A website message said they would still be allowed to enroll and instructed them to call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace to leave information for a return back.

The issue happened in online state marketplaces nationwide, causing the Trump administration to issue a nationwide extension Monday, Dec. 16. The extension began at noon, giving consumers 35 extra hours to complete the process.

PMG/EO MEDIA/SROregon Health Insurance Marketplace Administrator Chiqui Flowers urged Oregonians — not just those who had trouble signing up — who have not secured health care for 2020 to log on and look at their options ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

"Don't wait for a call back," Flowers said. "If you really want to make sure you have the right insurance plan for you, you have this window of opportunity to do so through OregonHealthCare.Gov. If you're not able to, you will get a call back from the HealthCare.Gov customer relations."

Flowers did not know how many people were unable to secure health insurance Sunday night because of website issues. She also didn't know how many people called to say they couldn't complete their applications.

Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden called for the Trump administration to issue an extension after hearing about the website issues.

"Healthcare.gov crashed just hours before the Dec. 15 deadline to buy health insurance, putting at risk the opportunity for Americans to sign up for coverage they and their loved ones need," Wyden said. "I am glad my call yesterday was heeded, and the Trump administration has restored the site and extended the open enrollment deadline. I encourage all those who weren't able to enroll in health care coverage for 2020 to take advantage of the new deadline and visit Healthcare.gov by midnight on Tuesday."

Through six weeks of enrollment, OregonHealthCare.Gov has signed up 65,803 Oregonians for insurance. More than 3.8 million Americans nationwide have signed up for health care plans as of Dec. 7.

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