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Maryland & California Announce "In Line By Midnight" Deadline Extensions

Hmmm...this was unexpected:

ALERT! If you started enrolling by 1/31 deadline but unable to finish due to recent snowstorm, you may finish by 2/5 pic.twitter.com/U9X3QhTIT9

— MD Health Connection (@MarylandConnect) January 29, 2016

I'm surprised by this for several reasons. The snowstorm was nearly a week ago, and there's still 3 days left for people to enroll as it is; are there still a lot of areas of Maryland coping with power outages/other disruptions which are making it unreasonable to expect people to get in under the wire?

Second, because CMS just stated pretty unequivocally that HealthCare.Gov will not be offering any official deadline extension (although, like the MD exchange, they did say that they'll have an "in line by midnight" exception). I assumed that if HC.gov was taking a "hard line stance" that the state exchanges would as well.

I should note that the MD exchange is not doing this due to poor enrollment numbers; they've actually been kicking butt this year and have already supassed my projections for the season.

UPDATE: Interesting: Covered California just made a similar announcement (and obviously they aren't using the snowstorm as a reason):

COVERED CALIFORNIA OFFERS TO HELP CONSUMERS ‘CROSS THE FINISH LINE’ AS INTEREST SURGES PRIOR TO THE FINAL WEEKEND OF OPEN ENROLLMENT

Consumers Must Begin the Application Process by Midnight Sunday and Complete Enrollment by Saturday, Feb. 6

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Due to a last-minute rush for health coverage, Covered California announced Friday that it would keep the doors open for consumers who start the application process but are unable to complete their enrollment by this Sunday.

The announcement follows a surge of enrollment that saw tens of thousands of consumers enroll in health insurance plans this week and that left certified enrollers with even more applications to file before the Jan. 31 deadline.

“Our top priority is making sure consumers who are trying to get health insurance get the time and assistance they need,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “Covered California knows that health care coverage is too important, and people should not be turned away just because they get caught up in a wave of last-minute shoppers.”

Lee said consumers who start their enrollment process, or make an appointment, by midnight Jan. 31 will have until midnight Feb. 6 to complete the application as long as they are working with a Certified Insurance Agent, Certified Enrollment Counselor, Certified Plan-Based Enroller or Service Center representative at Covered California.