WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration will push back by six weeks the deadline for enrolling for health insurance without facing a penalty, a change officials say is intended to clarify a series of mismatched deadlines outlined in the law and not a response to problems with its insurance website.
Consumers will have until March 31 to sign up for insurance without paying a tax penalty in 2014, the White House announced late Wednesday. That date was already the end of open enrollment, but under the individual mandate rules it was not clear whether consumers who waited that long to enroll would still face penalties.
In announcing the change, officials cast the move as a clarification and not a reaction to the embarrassing glitches and technical problems with www.healthcare.gov, the website created to link the insured with affordable, private insurance plans.
A growing group of critics and some administration allies have been calling on the White House to push back the deadline further or delay the individual mandate.