Deadline Extended For Last-Minute Insurance Shoppers

CHICAGO (December 23, 2013) The Monday deadline for signing up for insurance under the new health care law has been effectively extended through Tuesday in case of heavy demand on the government website.

The grace period was offered to accommodate people from different time zones and to deal with potential technical problems that could result from a last-minute rush of applicants, Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the federal agency overseeing the Obama administration's health overhaul, said.

Monday was the original deadline for Americans who wanted coverage that started on Jan. 1.

The federal system serves 36 states including Texas.

Some other states have also extended enrollment deadlines slightly.

A federal call center received more than 200,000 calls over the weekend.

Some people, including Kyle Eichenberger, 34, in suburban Chicago, were letting the date pass without making a decision.

He said he wished the system were more user-friendly.

In Florida, Ronald Bellingeri, 59, signed up Friday in 90 minutes with help from an enrollment counselor.

The general contractor lost his health insurance nearly a decade ago when he could no longer afford it.

He says having coverage again makes him feel great.