(Bloomberg) — The Obama administration says it is working to make it easier for people to compare health plans and sign up for coverage on the U.S.-run website created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
New features on HealthCare.gov, the PPACA public exchange enrollment system set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will help people to see how much insurance coverage will cost, once subsidies are included, and what their other medical-care expenses are likely to be. Enrollment for 2016 plans starts Nov. 1 and is set to run until Jan. 31,2016. HealthCare.gov — which is used by 38 states— will let consumers preview plans starting Sunday.
About 11.7 million people picked policies last year through HealthCare.gov and state-run exchange websites. The HealthCare.gov system ran mostly smoothly in last year’s sign-up period, a big change from 2013, when the website crashed on its opening day in a major setback for the administration’s signature domestic policy achievement. Though the site has improved, critics said last year it still had too little information to help people make informed choices.
“The consumer experience this year will be easier and faster,” Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said Friday at a briefing for reporters in Washington. “Customers will have more information to select a plan that fits their needs.”