After “changing flat tires on this rolling car for the last five, going on six months,” Maryland is taking its lemon of a healthcare enrollment site off the road.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it will give people who have had difficulty enrolling in health insurance through the Healthcare.gov federal exchange and state insurance exchange sites more time to complete the process, as long as they’ve at least started by March 31. The announcement comes as exchanges in five states are still struggling to work the bugs out of their sites—and at least one state is considering shuttering its site after the enrollment deadline passes.
So far, more than five million people have enrolled through health exchanges, despite the technical glitches in the federal exchange site and its state-run counterparts. But while the federal site’s technical problems have been largely resolved, state exchanges such as those in Maryland, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, and Massachusetts have floundered.
As a result, paper applications for healthcare plans through the exchanges have flooded in and dramatically slowed down what was supposed to be an efficient electronic operation, and last-minute enrollees are now stressing the websites as well. An HHS spokesperson said that as a result, “our systems will allow individuals with special circumstances and complex cases to receive help completing the enrollment process outside of open enrollment.”
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