FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Exchange Enrollment Nears Deadline
December 23, 2013, 11:26:52 AM
Katie Sullivan
Enrolling the uninsured continues to be an issue in the federal and state exchanges. Over the weekend, traffic volume to several insurance exchange websites was higher than usual, leading some to find page outages and others worried about whether they would meet the December 23 deadline for coverage in January. Additionally, there is still concern about reaching those who are in low-risk pools, such as the “young invincibles,” as well as people who remain confused about the Affordable Care Act mandates.

“It’s so amazing that so many people still think the law was either repealed or never got passed,” said Kathleen Gmeiner, project director for Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage. “One senior said, ‘You’re talking as if this is really going to happen.’ Well, it’s happening. But we’ve got a big row to hoe when it comes to getting the word out.”

Julie Bataille, director of the Office of Communications for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that Healthcare.gov can run efficiently with as many as 800,000 visitors a day. This will be important as last-minute purchasers seek to meet the deadline.

Private insurers such as America’s Health Insurance Plans also remain vigilant in trying to reach last-minute enrollees. They hope that by educating people about their options, they can reduce consumers’ confusion and encourage more people to enroll as soon as possible.

“Our industry wants to make sure people don’t experience gaps in their coverage due to issues outside their control,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans.
It will be crucial for providers and payers alike to find ways to be persistent about enrolling the uninsured, especially as outages and conflicting messages about policy requirements continue to make the process difficult for many Americans.

Consumers looking to be eligible for coverage on January 1 will have until the end of Monday, December 23, to sign up on the federal and state health insurance exchanges.

Around the Web

Monday Marks Key Healthcare Deadline [USA Today]

New York Online Health Exchange Suffers Outages Ahead of Deadline [NY Daily News]