States Move Toward More Enrollment Periods for Obamacare

More state-run exchanges are following the Obama administration’s lead, giving uninsured residents additional time to sign up for health coverage and avoid hundreds of dollars in penalties.

New York became the fifth state Friday to extend its enrollment period to accommodate such consumers, joining California, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington.

Fourteen states run their own insurance exchanges, with the rest being covered by the federal government’s On Friday, the Obama administration decided to create a special enrollment for those states.

The additional enrollment period for New York will run from March 1 to April 30. California will give consumers from Feb. 23 to April 30; Minnesota and the Obama administration will give them from March 15 to April 30; Washington until April 17; and Vermont until May 31.

The special enrollment periods extend through Tax Day on April 15 because most people won’t become aware they owe a penalty until they file their tax returns. The extensions will allow consumers to buy health plans to avoid the 2015 penalty, which is double last year’s fine.