The department has vowed that it will be prepared for the start of the insurance plans on January 1.
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the HealthCare.gov website will be able to handle the volume of visitors that will be required to head to the site on or before December 23, 2013, in order to meet that healthcare reform deadline for purchasing coverage to ensure that the plans will be active by January 1.
By noon on Monday, the site had already experienced 165,000 visitors to shop for and purchase plans.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services communications director, Julie Bataille, an additional 500,000 people had visited the healthcare reform website over the weekend. She explained that even though the site had experienced a consistently high level of traffic over the weekend and into the start of the following week, it was able to remain stable. She also explained that the staffs behind the chat lines, call centers, and the website itself have all been strengthened to make sure that the deadline will be met.
Many of the same healthcare reform assurances were made by administration officials as were made before October 1.
It was on that date that the state and federal health insurance exchanges first opened their doors – many to a highly disappointing and frustrating initial outcome. At that time, the federal website proved unable to handle the tremendous volume of visitors who immediately made their way to the sites. It proved to be riddled with glitches that led to outages and lost data. The administration rapidly hired outside experts that were able to come in and correct all of the largest issues by the deadline set by the president.
Americans who have not purchased their health insurance by the deadline of December 23 will have until March 31, 2014 to be able to purchase coverage and avoid having to pay a tax penalty on their taxes for 2014 as a result of being uninsured. Through the exchanges, the public can comply with the healthcare reform’s individual mandate and compare the benefits and costs of various plans.