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HHS exchanges test application update

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been testing a new version of the application process on some would-be health insurance buyers over the summer.

The system has been offering the revised application process more frequently, on a random basis, this month, and site managers hope to make the approach the standard application process Nov. 15, when the 2015 open enrollment period is set to start.

For now, the consumers using the system are those who have gone through coverage changes or life changes that give them access to special enrollment periods (SEPs).

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the HHS agency in charge of managing the PPACA exchanges in states with HHS-run exchanges, described the update in a bulletin aimed at the people who help consumers use the exchanges.

Consumers who want to create a account can complete a form that takes up just one screen, rather than three. Once a consumer begins applying for coverage, the consumer must start by giving information about matters such as marital status and number of dependents to be insured.

The new system uses another page of preliminary questions to guide users with simple situations to a short application process and other users to a longer process, officials say. Consumers who are not eligible for financial assistance, for example, do not see any questions about eligibility for Medicaid.

CMS is hoping about 70 percent of exchange users will be able to use the short-form process.

An application summary page gives users the ability to review the information they have entered and check it for accuracy.

See also: What if you lie to a PPACA exchange?


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