IRS Compliance Nightmare Looms as ObamaCare Site Crashes Ahead of Deadline
This morning Healthcare.gov – the federal ObamaCare website serving citizens in 34 states – went down for four hours, stymieing customers from accessing or completing their applications for insurance.
NBC News reports that people unable to log onto the website were put in a “queue,” meaning they would be notified by email when they could resume the enrollment process.
But with the deadline to begin an application (supposedly) ending at midnight, what will happen to people unable to return to their computer screens after the lengthy delay? Last week’s extension to mid-April only covers people who start the process for enrolling by the end of March. If other commitments – say family or work responsibilities – don’t allow an applicant to return, what then? How will federal regulators distinguish between people who never tried to use Healthcare.gov and those that did, but for various reasons beyond their control couldn’t finish?
If history is any guide, don’t expect the feds to make a distinction. More likely, the response sometime soon will be a blanket extension for enrollment that allows anyone – without precondition – to complete the process.
Then it will be the IRS whose head will spin. When it comes to enrolling on an ObamaCare exchange, the carrots are the subsidies and the sticks are the fines. Any adult that goes without health insurance for three consecutive months is subject to a fine of $95 or 1 percent of her annual income, whichever is higher. And since that fee gets levied at next year’s tax filing, it will be the IRS’ job to sort out who is subject to the penalty.
That is, as soon as the political operatives in the Obama administration decide when enrollment really, really – no really we’re serious this time! – ends.