Obamacare Sign-Ups Glitch Free in Year Two
Policy + Politics

Obamacare Sign-Ups Glitch Free in Year Two

Obamacare’s technical issues seem to have been solved—at least on the sign-up side for Healthcare.gov. The second year of signups is relatively glitch-free on the newly revamped Healthcare.gov.

Health officials touted the much-improved website this week for handling a surge of sign-ups ahead of the December 15 enrollment deadline with few problems. 

Related: Obamacare 2015: Low Premium Increases, High Deductibles

“Our call centers and our technology have done their jobs so far,” Andy Slavitt, a principal deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters Tuesday.


If the current and projected signups convert to fully paid Obamacare customers, and if the 2014 6.7 million continue to enroll, Obamacare will at least meet or even exceed its 2015 goal. Now, the question is, will good numbers influence the Republican-controlled Congress regarding its quest to repeal the law, or will they shift toward keeping and fixing it?

During the first month of Obamacare’s second enrollment period, some 2.5 million people selected plans on the federal health exchange, Healthcare.gov. By comparison, it took about three months for enrollments to hit 2 million last year amid the troubled rollout.

Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that more than 1 million of those sign ups were between Dec. 6 and Dec 12—suggesting that the pace likely picked up ahead of the Dec 15 deadline. Those numbers only account for the 37 states that rely on Healthcare.gov and do not include how many people have paid for their policies. That information will not be known for several months.

Although it’s not yet clear how many people signed up for plans on Monday, CMS reported that traffic on HealthCare.gov reached a record high of more than 1 million people on the site.

Related: Obamacare Enrollees Could Get Hit With Surprise Costs

Consumers had until Dec 15 to sign up for policies starting in the New Year. It was also the deadline for returning customers to update their information or change their policies for 2015.

For months, health officials encouraged returning Obamacare enrollees to shop around for coverage in order to avoid being surprised by higher bills if their current plans or subsidies changed.

Returning customers who didn’t change their plans by Monday were automatically enrolled in their old policies—many of which have increased. Washington-based consulting firm Avalere Health estimated that the average premium on a silver plan will increase by about 10 percent next year.

Still, administration officials stressed that consumers still have until the end of the open enrollment period on Feb 15 to alter their policies for the rest of the year.

In September, the Obama administration estimated that about 9.1 million people would enroll in exchange plans by the end of 2015—below the 13 million that the Congressional Budget Office had previously projected.

Now, some experts are predicting that Obamacare will beat the administration’s expectations. Washington-based consulting firm, Avalere Health, released an analysis Tuesday estimating that about 10.5 million people will sign up for coverage through the exchanges by the end of next year.

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