The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will give consumers more time to complete commercial coverage applications in the states where it runs the public exchange programs.

News was leaked to the Washington Post on Tuesday, and officials confirmed the leaks for New York Times reporters.

HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, aren't officially changing the March 31 individual qualified health plan enrollment period for everyone, but they will make a special enrollment period available to consumers who start the individual plan application process by March 31 and fail to complete the process by that date.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.