Consumers who are currently in the market for a health insurance plan will now have six additional weeks to do their research and come to a decision before incurring a penalty.
The federal government has decided to postpone the deadline for the individual-mandate tax penalty component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which fines consumers for not having health insurance coverage in 2014.
The deadline was postponed in order to eliminate any confusion. Originally, people had to have coverage by March 31, 2013. This would require them to sign up for coverage by mid-February to avoid being penalized. Now, consumers will have until March 31 to sign up for their plans.
The federal exchange website–Healthcare.gov–has been mired with technical glitches, preventing many people from enrolling for a health plan through the exchange. However, officials within President Obama's administration told reporters that the postponed deadline has nothing to do with the error-prone website.