As expected the Obama administration has decided to delay the individual mandate for a few weeks to make the penalty align with the open enrollment period. From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration said Wednesday night that it will give Americans who buy health insurance through the new online marketplaces an extra six weeks to obtain coverage before they incur a penalty.

The announcement means that those who buy coverage through the exchange will have until March 31 to sign up for a plan, according to an official with the Department of Health and Human Services.

The problem was that the open enrollment lasted until March 31st but if you didn’t buy insurance by February 15th you would have been hit with the individual mandate penalty. This could have resulted in people buying insurance during the period they were told to but still getting punished for not buying insurance.

This was an unfair and frankly stupid situation. The deadlines should have always been the same day and it is silly that it even took HHS to correct this small issue. This was the right move to make.
Photo by Bryan Kennedy under Creative Commons license