An Obamacare bell is tolling for customers — while another, louder bell may be tolling for Obamacare itself.
A key enrollment deadline for Obamacare looms Thursday, with many consumers scrambling to get health coverage that takes effect New Year's Day — for what could be the last year that the Affordable Care Act exists in its present form.
Since last Saturday, "sign-up activity has accelerated" on the federal Obamacare marketplace HealthCare.gov in anticipation of that deadline, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Wednesday
"The last two days ... [Monday and Tuesday] have been the biggest two days of any open enrollment, with more than 700,000 sign-ups," CMS said in a blog post.
That tally is 17.5 percent of the more than 4 million people who have signed up on HealthCare.gov since open enrollment began Nov. 1.
This season has seen over 250,000 more sign-ups on that exchange, which serves 39 states, than what was seen during the same time period last year, CMS said.
Thursday is the last day that consumers can sign up for individual health plans, including ones sold by Obamacare exchanges, that go into effect Jan. 1 — avoiding any gaps in health coverage after the expiration of 2016 year plans. But open enrollment for 2017 plans will continue until Jan. 31.