Editor's Note: While this segment was being filmed, the Obama administration announced that 6 million people have signed up for health insurance.
No component of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been more in the spotlight than the so-called "individual mandate" requiring people to sign up for health insurance by March 31st or face a tax penalty. Replying to questions about whether the deadline would be pushed back to allow people more time to sign up, HHS spokesperson Julie Bataille recently said that HHS "[doesn't] actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period."
Shortly thereafter, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which runs the federal exchanges, announced that people unable to finish shopping for health insurance on Monday will have the opportunity to continue their Obamacare insurance applications for an indeterminate amount of time.
How this change affect insurance stocks like WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM ) , Humana (NYSE: HUM ) , and Aetna (NYSE: AET ) ? A great deal depends on who signs up as a result of this extension, as that will affect the population insured and whether this will be a net positive or negative for insurers. In this segment from Thursday's Market Checkup, Motley Fool health care analysts David Williamson and Michael Douglass discuss these issues and how they affect your investments.
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