SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The performance of the HealthCare.gov federal exchange enrollment site has been improving since October, when only 350 Utah residents were able to use the site to buy insurance, health policy specialists said Thursday.
Matt Slonaker, the executive director of the Utah Health Policy Project, said the widespread technical troubles combined with political opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) caused many to wonder if PPACA was doomed.
“A few short days ago, it seemed as though health care reform was bound for failure,” Slonaker said Thursday at a Utah Health Policy Project meeting. “Today, just a few days later, things have changed a bit.”
Federal officials said they fixed hundreds of technical glitches last weekend, and by Thursday, Slonaker said the system was much improved and more people were getting through.
The Utah Health Policy Project is a nonprofit group that has been working to tell Utah residents about PPACA.
After the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that runs HealthCare.gov, made technical repairs last weekend, CMS officials reported that traffic flow on the website had doubled.
The PPACA exchange plan enrollment period started Oct. 1. To have coverage in place by Jan. 1, consumers must sign up by Dec. 23.
CMS officials said they expect to see a flood of applicants trying to enroll by the Dec. 23 deadline.
Slonaker said the floodgates have opened and many more people are signing up, but he said he wouldn’t be surprised if the website still has some glitches down the road.
Phil Sherburne, a Salt Lake City father of three, said he was able to enroll in a plan through the website in early October.
Sherburne, who owns a framing business, said he’d been uninsured for several years but has signed his family up for a plan that will cost $123 a month.
He told the audience Thursday that he has still not received a bill from the insurance company and has been told there’s a problem on the back end of the website that has prevented his information from being sent to the company.
Despite that, Sherbourne said the steps he’s been able to complete have brought him a sense of stability.