I had trouble sleeping very early this morning and actually succeeded at setting up a HealthCare.gov coverage shopping account for the New Jersey individual exchange today.
I can’t get my exchange eligibility information to show up, but that’s a browser problem, or some kind of temporary problem related to volume.
What I do notice, right off the bat, is that, as far as I can tell, there’s no obvious way for me to see roughly what coverage might be available in New Jersey without actually getting pretty far along in the process of buying coverage.
One of my big questions, that I’d like to answer by lazily looking at the exchange site, not by calling or emailing press people, is: “What kind of dental plans does the New Jersey exchange offer?” Because a colleague whose friend lives in New Jersey and needs dental asked about that.
On the one hand, maybe making visitors go through a rigorous account setup process is a good way to scare off window shoppers and tire kickers (like, frankly, me).
On the other hand, I think it’s a little unfriendly and counterproductive to keep consumers from kicking the tires of such a formidable, controversial new system.
On the third hand, it seems as if the problems at the public exchanges make this a great time to be a traditional insurance agent or broker with affordable, easy-to-write health products to sell. Just walk around residential neighborhoods listening for consumers who are shrieking at their computers and you’ve got your prospects.