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Mass Health Connector delays online sign-up deadline to March 31

The Health Connector has postponed the deadline for Massachusetts residents to sign up for a state health insurance plan to March 31, in line with the deadline nationally for signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

Although Massachusetts had its own state health insurance program before the rollout of the federal plan widely known as Obamacare, people here must now apply online to be part of the plan.

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Since Oct. 1, when the online program launched, 58,847 people have started applications, according to Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the Connector. Just 19,141 applications have been completed out of 257,000 people currently enrolled in a plan with the state.

In particular, 210,000 of those people currently receive subsidies. They must re-apply online by March 31 in order to receive a federal tax subsidy for their coverage. Generally, individuals making less than $45,000 and families of four making less than $94,000 qualify for subsidies, according to the state.

The previous deadline had been Dec. 23. But the Connector has faced some technical issues with the launch, including periods of slowness on the web site. Lefferts said the state wanted people to have the full six months to sign up.

Federally, the Affordable Care Act launch has faced a slew of technical glitches, for which the president has now issued an apology.

Beth Healy can be reached at Beth.Healy@globe.com
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