TODAY

TODAY   |  December 23, 2013

Monday is first major Obamacare deadline

After a troubled kickoff, the first real deadline for enrollment in Obamacare is Monday, the last day to enroll for coverage to begin on Jan 1. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> with the president. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning to you. here we like to say aloha. they say the website can handle any last minute rush of consumers but there's a deep concern, especially among health care advocates that the word may still not be getting out to the people that need the coverage the most. after a tortured roll out, today's the first real deadline. the last day to enroll for health care beginning january 1st .

>> how many people sign up by december 23rd will be the first true test of howell the law is working and in particular howell healthcare.gov, the federal website is now functioning.

>> reporter: on social media , a final push. this holiday inspired tweet from the washington d.c. exchange. instead of socks or an ugly sweater, how about health insurance for christmas. and as anticipated, a last minute spike in demand. when we called this weekend, a nearly two hour wait.

>> your estimated time is 105 minutes.

>> reporter: the president said more than 1 million americans already enrolled but that's far shy of the 3 million plus the administration hoped to have signed up by this point. but experts say who enrolls is more important than how many. emphasizing the need to get enough young healthy people to balance the costs for older and sicker americans . a series of late changes have complicated the process including the administrations latest move allowing more flexibility for the millions that got cancellation letters. some democrats have repeated their calls for a one year delay warning obamacare could collapse if the problems continue.

>> if it's so much more expensive than what we anticipated and the coverage isn't as good as we had, you have a complete melt down at that time.

>> reporter: still uncertain is how many americans will pay their premiums before the end of this month. they need to do that for their coverage to begin. the white house has encouraged insurers to give a short grace period and most insurers have agreed to that.

>> all right. peter alexander among the palm trees for us this morning. thanks.