The health insurance deadline is quickly approaching on March 31st and the Obama administration is trying to avoid having to offer an extension. President Obama hit the road on Thursday to raise awareness about the health insurance deadline among the Latino population. Many are questioning if the move to target Latinos is a desperate move by the President to boost sign ups in the coming days.
President Obama has offered an extension on the deadline for health insurance to be provided by employers twice. These changes have individuals and families wondering if it is possible that they will also receive an extension on the March 31st deadline. According to health insurance analysts like Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Obama can not afford to offer an extension to the masses. Health insurance providers, employers and the uninsured are all watching closely for any weakness in the deadline.
“If you’re the administration, and you want people to sign up by March 31, any indication that the deadline might be soft takes the pressure off for prospective enrollees,” Levitt said. The constant battling over the mandatory health insurance act has muddied the water for many potential enrollees. Recent polls and studies have revealed that many Americans are not aware of the looming deadline or the $95 penalty (or one percent of income, whichever is less).
In fact, the Galen Institute released a report this week counting 37 changes to the original 2010 bill that passed. While it is not uncommon for changes to be made to laws after they are passed, the implications of the health insurance act bring it under intense scrutiny. Political discourse has clouded the understanding of the American people concerning the act. As the health insurance deadline approaches, hopes for an extension still loom large but are highly unlikely.
There is a possible scenario that could lead to an extension on the deadline. With a conflicting number of sign ups, everyone has a different number, president Obama has 4,000 events planned between now and the deadline. This heavy focus on raising awareness makes one thing clear. Obama is not happy with the number of enrollments. If the starting base of those with health insurance is not large enough, it will negatively affect premiums offered by insurance companies. After the confusion surrounding who could keep insurance and who would lose it, the last thing the President wants is a large hike in premiums.
If Americans are waiting for a health insurance deadline extension, they may find themselves in trouble on April 1st.