HealthCare.gov Schedules Maintenance, Gears Up for 2015 Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season is almost upon us. That will bring a test of whether the website for the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov can perform better in its second year than in its disastrous debut.

Open enrollment season is almost upon us. That will bring a test of whether the website for the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, can perform better in its second year than in its disastrous debut.

On Friday, a notice on the site said it would undergo maintenance over the next several weekends, to prepare for the start of 2015 open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Another notice announces four key dates:

  • November 15, 2014. Open Enrollment begins. Apply for, keep, or change your coverage.
  • December 15, 2014. Enrollment deadline for new coverage that begins on January 1, 2015. If your plan is changing or you want to change plans, enroll December 15, 2014, to avoid a lapse in coverage.
  • December 31, 2014. Coverage ends for 2014 plans. Coverage for 2015 plans can start as soon as January 1, 2015.
  • February 15, 2015. The last day to apply for 2015 coverage.

If there’s a word to sum up how insurers view upcoming enrollment season, it’s “anticipation.” A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that rates in benchmark Marketplace plans declined slightly overall, but was wide variability among states, insurers and plans.

That has some experts wondering whether there will be lots of shopping going on, and if insurers will get adequate notice if a Marketplace customer has left for a new plan. That’s because there are a number of reports that much work remains on the “back end” of HealthCare.gov, which would provide insurers this kind of information.

Meanwhile, Kaiser’s 2014 employer benefits survey forecast a 3 percent increase nationally. Forbes, meanwhile, is reporting that a McKinsey study of the silver plans found an average increase of 8 percent, an important figure because subsidies are keyed to these plans.

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