Consumers and brokers continued to fight overloaded public exchange websites and call centers around 5 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday as most states’ application deadlines for individual major medical coverage that starts Jan. 1 neared.
*** See also: HealthCare.gov extends Jan. 1 coverage deadline 2 days ***
Consumers flocked to the HealthCare.gov feed on Google+, a social media service than can be much quieter than Twitter or Facebook, to tell the HealthCare.gov social media team about website problems and, in some cases, to try to document that they were doing their best to be in the official line for exchange plan coverage that starts Jan. 1.
B. Ronnell Nolan, a Louisiana broker and president of Health Agents for America (HAFA), emailed a screenshot of the HealthCare.gov error message getting in the way of her helping her clients. The “American people deserve another day to enroll,” she said.
In Columbus, Ohio, Mosaic Employee Benefits reported that one big Ohio carrier had already extended its application deadline for Jan. 1 coverage to Dec. 31.
The application deadline for Jan. 1 coverage in HealthCare.gov states is midnight Pacific Time today.
Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), estimated in a tweet that consumers made about 1 million calls to the HealthCare.gov call center Monday, and that 185,000 people, or about 1 in 1,500 of all U.S. residents, were shopping on the HealthCare.gov enrollment site at 9 p.m. Eastern Time Monday.
HealthCare.gov will treat consumers who give their email addresses to HealthCare.gov by the end of the day today or leave the email address at 1-800-318-2596 as being eligible to complete applications for Jan. 1 coverage, Slavitt said.
Charles Gaba of ACASignups.net, a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health insurance program enrollment blog, has estimated that the HealthCare.gov exchange system and state-based exchanges could have about 7.3 million people on track to put Jan. 1 coverage in place by the end of the day today, before the HealthCare.gov system or most state-based exchanges add automatically renewed 2015 enrollees to the total.
Thomas Patrick described HealthCare.gov as being the “best motivation for walking into oncoming traffic.”
On Twitter, Mat Alano Martin “live tweeted” the experience of waiting for HealthCare.gov to work properly. He gave up after about two hours, and after posting 20 tweets with the hashtag: “#LifeTweetingTryingToLoginToHealthCareGov.”
Many brokers and public exchange systems did their best to offer solace to consumers through social media, by asking consumers to send their telephone numbers through direct messages, or inviting the consumers to call non-flooded call centers.
Jill Chamberlain may have had the best advice for HealthCare.gov users who wanted immediate relief: Try the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, to see if it’s less crowded than the English version, and less frozen.
Are you following us on Facebook?