By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Saturday begins round-two for health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. The federal government is hoping that signups for plans are smoother than the first time around. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan looks at the expectations, and what consumers need to know.
After much anticipation, last fall’s kickoff to enrollment in health care plans under the Affordable Care Act did not go as planned. At the time, President Obama said, “Look, there’s no denying it, right now the website is too slow, too many people have got stuck and I am not happy about it.” While the Health and Human Services Secretary at the time, Kathleen Sebelius, said, “I am as frustrated and angry as anyone with the flawed launch of Healthcare.gov. so let me say directly to these Americans, you deserve better. I apologize.”
Ahead of the second round of signups, the Healthcare.gov website was tested over a period of five weeks, in the hopes of avoiding another dismal performance. Thirty seven states will use the federal exchange for 2015.
The enrollment period officially begins on Saturday, November 15th, but in a new feature, consumers can take a sneak preview of plans in their area now, and compare estimated premiums, deductibles, and maximum out-of-pocket payments.
The Obama Administration says this year’s signup will be easier in other ways too. The application process has been reduced from 76 screens to 16.
Consumers re-enrolling in a plan will find that much of their information carries over, instead of entering it again. Despite the promise of easier enrollment, the administration said this week it expects 2015 enrollment to be lower than their original projection of 13 million people, they’re now looking at number below ten million.