Consumers face March 31 deadline, when open enrollment for exchanges comes to an end
The deadline for purchasing health insurance coverage through insurance exchanges in the U.S. is quickly approaching. The open enrollment period for exchanges and the coverage they offer ends on March 31 of this year. Those that do not have health insurance coverage after the deadline passes are more likely to be subjected to penalties coming from the federal government. The problem, however, is that many people are still reporting that they cannot purchase coverage through exchanges in their state.
Insurance exchanges struggle to enroll consumers
Insurance exchanges began open enrollment in October of 2013. The exchanges are meant to provide consumers with access to affordable insurance coverage. Many people have been reporting serious issues with accessing these exchanges online, however, and the exchanges have been struggling to enroll people for several months now. Many exchanges are still facing technical issues that are preventing consumers from enrolling for coverage. This could be a serious issue if these problems are not rectified by the time the open enrollment period ends.
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Many people may be losing out on insurance coverage due to flawed online infrastructure
Health care providers are reporting that patients are avoiding care because they do not have insurance coverage. Many suggest that these people have been unable to purchase coverage through exchanges because these marketplaces are riddled with technical problems. Health insurance navigators, which work as part of these exchanges and help consumers find policies they need, argue that people that are avoiding the exchange websites are finding it easy to purchase coverage. Exchanges can be accessed via phone and in person, but many people have opted to try and access these exchanges online.
Ongoing problems could call into question the viability of the March 31 deadline
If consumers continue to have major problems when trying to purchase insurance coverage from exchanges, the March 31 deadline may be extended. The federal government has noted that it intends to see insurance exchanges successfully serve consumers. Ongoing technical problems, however, are making it difficult for these exchanges to find any traction with consumers throughout the country.