Problems with the Healthcare.gov website as well as low enrollment means significantly fewer people are going to be covered come January than the Obama administration planned, so they are doing everything they can to maximize the numbers.

Previously, they pushed back the deadline from December 15th to the 23rd and now they are asking insurers to help them push it back even further.

On Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services announced they were going to push the deadline back to December 31st for getting coverage starting in January. They are also asking insurers to still cover people for January if the payment arrives a few days late.

In addition the administration gives people enrolled in the federal high risk pools the ability to extend their current coverage for one more month. This was supposed to be only a temporary bridge program until the exchanges opened but HHS is now giving this population an extra month to selected new exchange coverage.

The administration is limited in what it can do, but it is trying almost everything to make up for the fact technical problems really limited the window for selecting a plan. If you can’t get the program working right in time, your next best option is to move the deadline.

Photo by boo lee, used under Creative Commons license