ObamaCare Penalty Delayed —but Not Due to Website
WH says it's just eliminating confusion
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 23, 2013 10:15 PM CDT
Updated Oct 24, 2013 7:00 AM CDT
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(Newser) – Good news for procrastinators: Americans will now have an extra month and a half to get health insurance before facing a penalty under ObamaCare, meaning they won't face a fine if they sign up for a plan by March 31. The six-week delay (a change of tune for the White House) isn't because of website difficulties, but because people weren't certain when the penalty came into effect, officials tell the Washington Post. It hadn't been clear whether Americans simply had to sign up for a plan before the penalty took effect, or whether their coverage itself had to begin by that date, the Post and MarketWatch explain. Because of the way health insurance is processed, Americans would have needed to apply by Feb. 15 for coverage to kick in March 31; now, people won't be penalized as long as they've signed up by March 31, in which case their coverage would start May 1.

Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is preparing for hearings on website issues beginning today. Four contractors will testify; Kathleen Sebelius will do the same next Wednesday.

  • CGI Federal handled the lion's share of the project, and has already acknowledged some responsibility for the problems in a letter to lawmakers—but it asserted that the health department agency Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was ultimately responsible for the site's "end-to-end performance"; it also points the finger at contractor Quality Software Services for registration problems that have now been fixed. QSS says it's not the only one to blame.
  • An insurance industry source tells CNN that "top health insurers" knew full well about the website's flaws before it launched.

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Oct 24, 2013 10:46 PM CDT
Dear Mr. Cornelison, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE LIBERALS SCREW UP!!!!!!!!!!
Oct 24, 2013 2:54 PM CDT
Message to the trolls again; You're bullying & mindless cruelty may drive others off this site but I'm going nowhere. There are people in need in America who have no voice, no computer and no job. They want health insurance. Some of them are highly-educated. Even more lost their jobs because of the GOP govt. shutdown. If you would all take a recess, the rest of us grownups want to discuss something constructive.
Oct 24, 2013 11:00 AM CDT
Most people are feeling the effects of Obama's policies. Higher taxes, higher prices in gas, food and healthcare. The fact is we are not better off and it's not going to get better very soon. The only people doing well are those in the stock market. QE is serving them well, on the backs of our children.