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Dec 23, 2013 7:36 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Feds extend health insurance deadline by 1 day

TUCSON - The Obama Administration extended the first official deadline for signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Act by one day to add a little breathing room.

The deadline was pushed back until the end of Christmas Eve and for those who manage to sign up by then, their coverage will begin as soon as January 1.

The government website Healthcare.gov has been plagued by computer glitches since it went live earlier this year.

"Last week was very busy with people calling in and coming in for appointments," said Debra Johnson, a local navigator at Tucson Urban League, who continues to help Tucsonans sign up for health insurance.

"There are times that there is a lot of traffic [on the website] and it will put you in a queue and I've had that experience but the queue is usually five minutes," Johnson told News 4 Tucson.

With the deadline for getting coverage by January 1st quickly approaching, the feds are prepping for a flood of applications.

"Because we had such a big crush of visitors, we wanted to make sure that people who are trying to sign up today were actually able to do it and get covered by January 1 and wanted to add a cushion on the back end," said Jennifer Palmieri, the Communications Director at the White House.

While open enrollment will continue through March 31, the effort to continue signing people up locally will ramp up with the new year.

"There are still major pushes to get the information out in the community and get people enrolled," Johnson said.

To view an interactive map created by Enroll America displaying the concentration of uninsured Arizonans, click here.

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