WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid believes people who are having trouble trying to sign up for Obamacare online are not able to handle the Internet.
Reid’s comment comes after the Obama administration announced Tuesday that people will get extra time if they have applied for health insurance through exchanges but can’t finish the process before the March 31 open enrollment deadline.
“People are not educated on how to use the Internet,” Reid said during a press conference Wednesday, explaining that some people are unable to easily navigate the Internet.
Reid stated that this wasn’t another Obamacare delay by the White House.
“There’s no hiccup or delay. We’ve had hundreds of thousands of people who signed up and they didn’t get through,” Reid said.
The White House is scrambling to meet a goal of 6 million signed up through new online markets that offer subsidized private health insurance to people without access to coverage on the job. The HealthCare.gov website got more that 1 million visitors Monday, and the administration also wants to prevent a repeat of website problems that soured consumers last fall.
“We are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment, either online or over the phone,” Health and Human Services spokesman Aaron Albright said.
Officials said the grace period will be available to people on the honor system, meaning applicants will have to attest that special circumstances or complex cases prevented them from finishing by March 31.
It’s unclear how long the extension will last. Some have urged the administration to allow until April 15, the tax filing deadline. People who are due refunds may be willing to put some of that money toward health care premiums.
The Affordable Care Act marked its fourth anniversary last week.
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