After last year's disastrous start, the first day of open enrollment in year 2 of the Affordable Care Act had fewer hiccups. HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathew Burwell was reporting success from this weekend.
One state-run exchange had to be taken offline, and there were scattered reports of delays setting up accounts and replacing passwords. But overall, the first days of open enrollment in year 2 under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) seemed to be going more smoothly than the horrendous start that occurred at the launch in October 2013.
By this morning, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell was declaring success, saying that 100,000 consumers had applied for coverage over the weekend and that 500,000 people with existing coverage had checked on their accounts.
According to The Seattle Times, officials in Washington State took the Healthplanfinder offline Saturday for 22 hours after quality control systems discovered that tax credits were being calculated incorrectly. The exchange was functioning again by Sunday morning, before being taken down for maintenance overnight Sunday night to Monday morning. Washington State’s exchange suffered a similar problem last year that took longer to resolve.
Both national and state-level reports featured good news and bad: of consumers who gave up trying to use HealthCare.gov a year ago but succeeded in getting insured this weekend, as well as those who struggled to set up an account and, after getting help from a call center, had to wait 2 hours before using it.
But a theme among the reports was consumer demand: high volume on both the federal web site and on state exchanges, and high traffic in community centers where navigators or insurance agents were waiting to assist with enrollment. Amid results of a poll showing public opinion for the ACA at 37%, apparently that opinion is not shared among those who need insurance.
In Jersey City, NJ, locals lined up Saturday morning at the City Council conference room to get help signing up, as federal officials and Mayor Steve Fulop greeted them. "Can we afford it? That's the basic thing," Gary Banganiban told The Jersey Journal, with his pregnant wife by his side.
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