As Obamacare enrollment deadline nears, hold times are growing

President Donald Trump's administration says it is trying to accommodate consumers as hold times grow for those seeking to enroll in insurance under the federal health care law. The sign-up season ends tonight, Friday, at midnight Pacific time in most states. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday that some callers to HealthCare.gov are being asked to leave their contact information. A spokeswoman says operators will call them back and they'll be able to get coverage effective Jan. 1.

People are trying to manage the enrollment process at a time when they seem more perplexed than ever. Almost 76 percent of Americans are unaware of when open enrollment is, according to a recent survey from Policygenius. And almost one out of five people didn't realize the Affordable Care Act was still the law.

Sign-up season is half as long this year, but consumer interest has been strong. As of Dec. 9, about 4.7 million people had enrolled in the 39 states served by HealthCare.gov. That's roughly 17 percent more customers than at the same time last year.

Consumers are facing fewer choices in the exchange marketplace. Recent cutbacks from the Trump administration, including ending important reimbursements and slashing consumer support, are adding to market uncertainties and confusion among consumers.

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 until Dec. 15 for coverage starting January 2018 in the 39 states in which the federal government runs the exchange, Some states that run their own exchanges will have longer open-enrollment periods, such as California, whose enrollment period extends until Jan. 31.