Deadline to Buy Health Insurance through the Federal Marketplace Extended: Sign up by Dec 17 for Jan 1 Coverage

December 16, 2015 Catherine Hecht


According to, the days leading up to the December 15 open enrollment deadline saw a surge in consumer demand to buy 2016 health insurance, through the federal marketplace. Due to this demand, announced that it would be extending the enrollment deadline to Thursday, December 17. CEO Kevin Counihan released the following statement:

“Because of the unprecedented demand and volume of consumers contacting our call center or visiting, we are extending the deadline to sign-up for January 1 coverage until 11:59 pm (PST) on December 17. Hundreds of thousands have already selected plans over the last two days and approximately 1 million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line. Our goal is to provide access to affordable coverage, and the additional 48 hours will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage. ”

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, is a proposal put forth by the Obama administration that attempts to address and correct a series of problems with the health care system. It was signed into law in March of 2010. The actual law includes over 1,000 pages of reforms to insurance companies and the health care industry. Some of the changes have been enacted already, some won’t go into effect until 2020. The law requires that Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty on their year-end taxes. That’s where the marketplace comes in.

The Marketplace simplifies, for consumers, the health coverage search by collecting available options into once place ( for comparable shopping based on price, benefits, and other features. The most recent deadline for open enrollment through the marketplace was December 15 for January 1 coverage, but since there has been such high demand, the open enrollment has been extended two days (December 17).

What Do People Need to Know about the Enrollment Extension?

The December 15 deadline has been extended 2 days. This gives people an extra 48 hours to sign up for heath insurance through the federal marketplace.

The deadline to sign up for coverage starting on January 1 is Thursday, December 17 by 11:59 pm (PST).

You can enroll in a health insurance plan through or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1.800.318.2696.

If you tried to enroll recently but didn’t finish the process, you’ve still got time. Because of the surge in demand, some people experienced a long wait at the call center or before being able to log on to the website. is providing additional time for people to come back, shop and sign up for the plan that best fits their needs.

Free help is available. If you have questions about the deadline or want to talk through options with a trained professional, representatives at the Marketplace Call Center are standing by and are ready to help 24 hours a day at 1.800.318.2696.

You can also speak to someone local. For enrollment assistance in Jersey City contact Stacey Flanagan from the Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services by email at sflanagan(at) or by calling 201.547.6800. To find additional places that offer assistance in our community, visit

JCI file photo

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